Impacts of Terrorism Risk on Swedish Travel Agents Decisions




Impacts of Terrorism Risk on Swedish Travel Agents Decisions

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Impacts of Terrorism Risk on Swedish Travel Agents Decisions




Impacts of Terrorism Risk on Swedish Travel Agents Decisions. The Case of Turkey’s

Brand Image Following the Islamic State’s Terrorist Attacks.


In an era of increasing political chaos, the tourism industry is facing a noteworthy challenge. Safety and political stability and are fundamentals for tourism; even the simple risk of events like terrorism and civil conflicts can makes tourists to change their choices to visit a destination. Countries influenced by terrorism certainly experience a drop in the quantity of international tourists and in tourism revenues. There is no country has been capable of protect its tourism industry against the effects of terror. The effect of terror on an image of destination’s tourism industry is both direct and possibly long-lasting. Turkey is globally well considers as one of top destinations with a variety of attractions. Turkey has many natural landscapes, historical ruins, nice beaches that offer visitors a unique experience. However, the image of Turkey has affected as results of political instability and many terrorists attacks during the last five years. Destination images are perceptual images held by individuals of places depending heavily on the information received or by individuals’ actual visits. Moreover, the media coverage of Turkey has caused potentially negative attitude to visit the country. This paper will cover the image of tourism in Turkey and how the country has affected by terrorism. A qualitative approach was used to find out how the Swedish travel agents and the tour operators interpreted the originated information agents, information from the media and other geopolitical factors overall image of Turkey and how they reacted towards the new images. Furthermore, it aims to identify the extent issues of impacts of global terrorism on destination image and risk perception for both Swedish travel agencies and tour operator’s selections and decisions in case of Turkey.


Key words: Islamic Terror, Turkey, Destination image, Terrorism, Tourism, media        coverage, Risk perceptions, Swedish Travel Agencies





There has been a growing interest in the economic results of political rockiness, local conflict, and global terrorism for the past few years. The 9/11 attacks and widespread terrorism data support research in the economics of battle, mainly connected to economic growth, for every capita GDP, and investment. Takay-Araz et al. (2009), Blomberg et al. (2004),  Abadie and Gardeazabal (2003, 2008), Eckstein and Tsiddon (2004,) Nitsch and Schumacher (2004),  have all recognized the considerable negative effects of conflicts on an extensive range of economic variables for instance per capital GDP, foreign direct investment, investment per capita,  bilateral trade movements and tourism. Global tourism is one of the world’s leading industries, and several small, open economies depend heavily on tourism incomes as a main source of foreign exchange revenues. Furthermore, to such an extent direct profits, tourism sector is also a ground of external direct investment (FDI) in numerous developing states. Terrorism events may hurt tourism industry by dropping the number of tourist arrivals. For a long years, continued terrorist events could also remarkably reduce FDI.

In addition such direct charges, indirect charges of terrorism contain extra advertising costs necessary to attract more or new foreign tourists, reconstruction budgets for damaged tourist services, and security enforcement costs to reduce terrorist threats. Main airports in Europe and the region of Mediterranean, for instance, have prepared costly progresses in security in response to rising terrorist events. The majority of insurance firms now ignore coverage for possible damages due to terrorist-related issues (Hall 1995). This exemption also increases the charge of terrorism, as firms might pass the extra expenses on directly to tourists. Terrorism is supposed to have detrimental impacts on tourist arrivals, particularly in states with noteworthy and frequent terrorist events. In this research, I emphasis in Turkey. Turkey has numerous different characteristics that make this country a significant site for study. The most important of them its location and influence on the world. Turkey is located at the intersection of three continents; Europe, Asia, and Africa. Further, it is a gateway to both the Wes and East. The state has shared borders with many Middle Eastern, Caucasian along with European countries. Turkey also used to be one of the best favorite destination for the Swedish tourist.

Turkey has been struggling and fighting  several terrorist groups, including ISIS, (PKK) the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, the Islamic Great Eastern Raiders/Front,  and (TIKKO) Turkish Workers’ and Peasants’ Liberation Army.


Problem Statement

Tourism industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the world (UNWTO), yet also one of the utmost sensitive ones (Araña & León, 2008).’As commonly known, the tourism sector in the Middle East has suffered a lot and still suffering till nowadays. The region is no longer attracting tourists to visit, but slightly diverting tourists far away. There are many causes which form destination image and tourist behavior, which therefore affect tourists and travel agencies decisions in terms of selecting a destination. Certainly, travel-related risk connected to terrorism is one of most important of them.

Undoubtedly, the risk has been increased with growing of some radical Islamic terrorist organizations in the region of the Middle East especially during the period following the Syrian war and refugee’s crisis in the last five years. Therefore, the global tourism industry in general and Turkish tourism specifically has been rocked by a series of main threats that have basically affected tourist behavior and the introduced the risk into tourist decisions and disturbed routine decision-making. In fact, there is very limited research on the effects of terrorism on destination image. However, many previous studies concentrate on only one or two of these issues, but ignored that radical Islamic terror, destination image, safety, media coverage, Islamophobia, travel behavior and terrorism are quite closely connected to each other in today’s world. Indeed, the problem is so critical and worth to investigate.

Research questions:

The main goal of this thesis to find out 1- How the radical Islamic terrorism risk in Turkey effected on Swedish travel agents decisions? 2- What are Swedish travel Agents’ perceptions and how they construct the image of Turkey after the radical Islamic group’s attacks? 3- Are there any differences in agents’ perceptions towards the problem, and what are the factors that contribute to agents’ perception to Turkey`s image as a destination?


Significance of the Research

This research is aimed at describing the matters between the supply and demand aspects of destination image formation in the expectation to benefit the image represent the destination more truthfully. By showing the difference between the perceptions projected by the Swedish tourist, agents, and those of travel decisions makers, the general image of Turkey can be reviewed to be sure that it demonstrates the reality and the demands of the Swedish tourists.  It is also important to find out how Swedish travel agencies experience and level of what so called the radical Islamic terrorism influence on Swedish tourist selections and motivations nowadays. Swedish agents’ and their customers’ awareness of the problem. Furthermore, in order to estimate and evaluate the significance of the various destination’s (Turkey) characteristics such as safety and security, and if there are any other contributed factors. If there is any other solutions, suggestions and alternatives for Turkey in the Swedish market. The findings of this research can offer DMOs and further Swedish tourism agencies with valuable data and tools for better making and managing a destination image. Furthermore, this research will hopefully add awareness to the concept of the destination image authenticity and how it impacts both the tourists, agents and the locals. A comprehensive literature review follows in the next part, highlighting the core concepts that will be utilized to direct the research and accomplish the central goal.


Today, travel Agencies and tour operators play a very significant role in generating the images of destinations. In this international capacity, they can remarkably influence global tourism flows towards a destination hit by terrorism, safety and security threats. Further, individual tourists’ decisions on where to have a holiday extremely often depend on the practice and behavior of travel agencies and tour operators towards a specific destination. As stated by Baloglu and Mangaloglu (2001), the travel agents and the tour operators play an important role and effect the the destination images by promoting certain destinations and avoiding others. This view is agreed with Ioannides (1998) who presumed that, the tour operators decide the movement of global tourists from one place to another through their advertising procedures. By using brochures, booklets and oral tips, the tour operators generate convinced images of destinations. However, the tour operators’ role contrasting with the travel agencies which sell holiday and a variety of other travel serveries. Tour operators actually collect the component portions of a holiday, holiday packages i.e. the ways of travel, accommodation, transfers, excursion, services, and other facilities. (Field, 1999)

If we take in consideration that the travel agents are the seller arm of the travel business, then the tour operators can be connected to wholesalers, as they purchase in ‘bulk’ from the suppliers of travel services, for instance the hoteliers and airlines, devide the ‘bulk’ into wieldy packages and sell the finished service the inclusive tour for purchase to the travel agencies or directly the induvial customers. (Kaynama and Black, 2000)

Safety and security are the main conditions for the regular tourism development in a destination, country or region, and therefore are the major determinants of its growing. Lacking them, destinations cannot effectively compete on the global markets, even though they exist in their promotions the most attractive and top quality natural and constructed attractions. Tourism contributes to safety as much as it gain benefits from it (Savignac 1994).

Pizam (1999), claimed that every moment of everyday a violent or crime act happens at a destination somewhere in the globe. At the same time, it would be hard to reject that many kinds of safety threats co-exist in everybody’s daily lives, and even within tourism too. Nevertheless, a significant difference exists: Individuals are hardly in a position to change their residence, yet nothing can force them to spend a vacation in a place that they recognize as insecure. (Kaynama and Black, 2000)



Travel Agency and Tour Operators

A travel agency is defined as a type of business that functions as an intermediary between the travel industry, or supplier and the traveler or purchaser. Partly, the travel agency markets the prepackaged travel tours as well as holidays to the potential travelers. According to Knowles and Westcott (2016), the travel agency can additionally operate as a broker between a traveler (s) and the tour companies, hotels, and car rentals. Travel agencies may be small firms that are privately owned or they can be part of a large entity.  On the other hand, the tour operators combine the travel and tour components to form a package holiday. Their role is to advertise as well as produce brochures that are used to promote the holidays, their products, and itineraries.


Classification of Travel Agents:

The travel agencies fall into the mainly three categories that include multiples, miniples, and independent agencies. Multiples are the travel agencies who consist of more than one national chain, owned by an international conglomerate such as Thomson Holidays. The large mass market of tour companies are now buying a controlling interest in travel agencies’ chains to manage the distribution of their product. In Sweden, there are five types of agencies including independent, host, consortium, franchise, and mega agencies (The Swedish Chambers of Commerce, 2011). Consortium agencies are comprised of various specialty agencies while franchise travel agencies are comprised of independently operated travel agencies that are being run by franchises.

The last type of travel agencies is the independent agencies. These are the small-time corporations operating with one or two outlets, if any (Snoventures, 2013). The owner does the core operations by himself and has a few employees who help him. Irrespective of that, these firms are still able to collect a substantial number of customers, bookings as well as collaborate with other vendors such as hotels and transportation service operators. This type usually caters for special niche markets like the needs of residents in a suburb or a specific group who have an interest in a similar activity.


The travel agencies can also be classified based on their approaches. “That includes out-bound or multi-bound, where the company is based on where the tourist is. The other operates within the country where the customer wishes to spend his/her holiday and provides the packages or services that are geared towards the enjoyment on the required destination” (Snoventures, 2013). Irrespective of the type of agency, one’s best criterion for utilizing a specific operator is the type of tours it provides.


Definitions and Classification of Tour Operators.

A tour operator is defined by Sheldon as (1986) “a company which negotiates with hotels, transportation companies and other supplies of tourism services and later combines these components into a packaged tour” (p. 352). The tour operators are four types including the inbound, outbound, domestic, and ground tour operators (Verma, 2016). The inbound tour operators are those who handle directly the foreign tourists, offer them different services as they arrive or depart. These services can include transfer, accommodation, entertainment, currency, transportation, sightseeing, and insurance services among others. These tour operators create the tour packagers individually or in collaboration with other foreign tour operators. As a matter of fact, these types of tour operators are the ‘image’ builders of any country because they convert the tourist resources of a country into a saleable commodity.


The outbound tour operators on the other hand are those who are specialized in advertising and designing multi-national tours particularly foreign countries. They sell tour services to individuals or groups of people of their own nations to other countries or number of countries for some pre-agreed on period. Generally, this type of tour operators’ work in collaboration with inbound tour operators or the ground operators to provide services that entail meeting the inbound tour group at an airport, transferring this tour group to the arranged place of accommodation, and arranging local sightseeing.

The domestic tour operators are those who operate within the borders of their native country and address the various needs of individual and group tourists. Their work is to promote the tour services both via their outlets as well as the other retail travel agents. They play a key role in contributing to the national cohesion and integration. The ground tour operators are also referred to as reception operators, handling agents, or destination management firms such as the ground operators of the US and reception operators in India among others (Verma, 2016). This type of tour operators is expected to offer the land management arrangements at a specific destination. Therefore, ground tour operators are those who offer the required services by large organizations where there is no local branch or office or are not dealing with the principle suppliers like hoteliers, car rental, entertainment firms, or transport operators.  The ground tour operators source coordinates, monitor, and handle the payments/accounts of all the packages associated with the tour in their region.


Swedish Tour Operators and Travel Agencies

The Swedish consumers often purchase their holiday services directly from the Swedish tour operators, particularly when it is about long haul holidays. They provide complete holiday services to the Swedish travel agencies as well as the consumers and they often liaise with one or more inbound tour operators who chose elements of those services for them (The Swedish Chambers of Commerce, 2011). These outbound tour operators sometimes work with the local tourism providers, particularly hotels. The major outbound tour operators in Sweden offer standardized and mass tourism products. These major your operators are three namely, Ving Sverige, Fritidsresor, that is owmed bu Tui Travel; and Apollo Resor (The Swedish Chambers of Commerce, 2011). All these operators have their airlines and they provide a number of holiday packages to the developing countries. Apart from these three major outbound tour operators, Sweden also has several smaller-scaled and general tour operators and niche tour operators. The general tour operators provide all kinds of holidays whereas the niche tour operators focus on a single or few specific markets.


The travel agencies sell the travel packages for the tour operators to the consumers via their offices of the Internet. They can also sell the weekend trips as well as make travel arrangements for bus ticket, flight, and train and accommodation. In Sweden, the Internet travel agencies are utilized for the standard trips while the travel agencies’ offices are utilized more for the specialized as well as the tailor-made trips (The Swedish Chambers of Commerce, 2011). The major players in the Swedish online market for travel agencies include Mr Jet, Resfeber, Seat24, Travelpartner, and Travelstart. The travel agencies in Sweden still play a crucial role in the country and in sales of travel agencies have increased over the past few years. The top three travel agency chains in Sweden include TICKET, Resia, and Big Travel (The Swedish Chambers of Commerce, 2011).




Figure 1: The role of travel agencies and tour operators in the distribution process.

Adopted from Mbiyu (2014) p. 9

Literature Review:

This part is consist of two segments, terrorism, and destination image.  It includes also some relevant literature about the history of terrorism, its connection to tourism industry and its impacts. The subsequent part includes the theoretical frameworks regarding travel decision making, risk perceptions and effects of media coverage


Definition of terrorism:

Terrorism is defined as “the commission of criminal acts, usually violent, that target civilians or violate conventions of war when targeting military personnel; and that are committed at least partially for social, political, or religious ends” (Agnew, 2010, p. 132). Terrorism has been greatly under-theorized (Roche, 2004). Terrorism also defined in the report of United Nations (UN) Secretary general’s High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change (2004) as “any harmful action that intended to cause death and serious damages to human body or noncombatants, when the purpose of such an act, by its nature or context, is to intimidate a population, or to compel a government or an international organization to do or to abstain from doing any act.” (UN, 2004) Terrorism also defined according to The U.S State Department as

Premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetuated against non-combatants targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience

Enders and Sandler (2002: 145-146) describe terrorism as:

. . . the premeditated use or threat of use of extra-normal violence or brutality by subnational groups to obtain a political, religious or ideological objective through intimidation of a huge audience, usually not directly involved with the policy making that the terrorists seek to influence.

Terrorists usually are utilizing different kinds of weapons to make people suffer. Also, terrorism creates negative effects upon standards and values of the targeted country. Each definition of terrorism should also accommodate realistic claims to political violence, mainly against oppressive governments, and examines the variety of exceptions, reasons, excuses, resistances and amnesties possibly available to terrorists, in addition to purported exceptions, for example, self-determination conflicts, ‘State terrorism’ and armed struggles which destroy the possessions that creates different problems in community and in the country. (Ben 2007) Further, terrorism is an action of any group of individuals who run crime events onto people and domestic government. In the world, there are numerous terrorism groups which threaten the world including: Islamic state, Hezbollah, Hamas, Al-Qaeda, PKK, Taliban, Boko Haram, and many others.

According to the inspiration of the terrorists, terrorism could be classified into three main different classifications: nationalist, religious and political. Nationalist terrorism contains terrorist activities that are generated from the pro-independence movements, and what called resistance movements in a certain region. However, all the terrorist activities can be seen in general as “political”, so in this perspective political terrorism points to radical right or left wing political activities. Similarly, terrorist activities considered by “one cause movements” for instance, animal rights’ movements and anti-nuclear movements can be categorized under political terrorism. Whereas religious terrorism has its origins in the religious belief or cult movements for example, millennialism or judgment day groups. These days, religious terrorism is simply linked only with the religion Islam, yet includes other religions too. (Kullberg 2011).

In the world, there have been several terrorist attacks done by different dangerous terrorism groups including: Hezbollah, Islamic State, Hamas, Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, PKK, Taliban, and many others are the source of terror in the world. Currently, an organization what so called the Islamic State (ISIS) is really threating the human race. In fact, there are several organizations, database, and systems, which record the terrorist attacks events, (GTD) Global Terrorism Data is the most significant one of these organizations. Global Terrorism Database includes approximately 80,000 incidents between the period of1970 to 2007. Both domestic and transnational terrorists are involved in this database, nonetheless it does not separate between these incident categories. The data contain information including time, date, weapons, number of victims and locations. The data used are gathered from newspapers, news and other sources.


Types of Terrorism

With the aim of reply appropriately to terrorism, it is extremely significance to distinguish between different types of terrorist kinds. Grothaus (n.a.) formed a list of definitions for different kinds of terrorism: (Note: in this paper, only two types of terrorism will be discussed and the others will be disused more in details in the final thesis later.)


State Terrorism

Some governments practice this type of terrorism systematically to control their people. However, State Terrorism intend to not be mixed with state supported terrorism, where states support terrorist organizations or groups, for instance, the regime in The Islamic Republic of Iran. This type of terrorism is the main form of terrorism and carried out completely by the gang holding power in a state. During history, this kind of terrorism has been employed by most dictators with the aim of assure control and power over the inhabitants like in the case of the Syrian regime.


Religious Terrorism


This kind of terrorism is inspired by religious ideologies and is occasionally point out to “Holy Terror” (Grothaus, n.a.; Chaliand & Blin, 2007). Nowadays, it is seen as the most frightening terror threat the humanity (Hays, 2008). Furthermore, religious terrorism is marked by the extremism of those who practice it (Grothaus, n.a.). What marks this kind of terrorism separately from others is the readiness of these terrorists to kill themselves using “all in” strategies, for example, suicide bombings. This type of actions is inspired through religious instructions that are intended to explain these actions by promising prizes.


ISIS and Al Qaeda and are the most noticeable models regarding religious terrorism. The previous mentioned organizations obey an Islamic radical ideology where the “Holy Leader” is both political religious chef. Although this model did not happen for a long time, it produced theological and political concerns (Chaliand & Blin, 2007). However, Hays (2008) mentions that Muhammad Atta, one of the leading planners of the 9/11 attacks, was fully drunk before boarding the aircraft, while it is severely forbidden for vastly religious Muslims according to the principles of Islamic religion. These activities resulted in supposing that some tremendously observant Muslims didn’t switch into radicals, but fairly that fierce radicals manipulated religious theories for their own goals and benefits.

Right Wing Terrorism


Right Wing Terrorism, according to Grothaus (n.a.), seeks to fight against liberal regimes to preserve conventional morals, orders and traditions of a community. The inspiration of followers of this groups is of a racist tendency and they are mostly described as gangs and militias. The Klu Klux Klan and Neo-Fascists are good contemporary samples of such terrorist movements.


The global Terrorism:

According the annual report of Economic and Peace Organization, the most accurate source of data on terrorism today, the most countries which impacted heavily by terrorism are five countries include; Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan (Global Terrorism Index, 2016) .The total deaths related to terrorism activates is 29,373 in 2015.  And the majority of deaths happened in Turkey and France. The total ISIS -affiliated attacks have increased noticeably from 13 countries to 28 countries between 2014 and 2015.And the total of victims has also increased significantly in 2015, to 313 deaths from 67 attacks comparing to only 18 attacks in 2014. There are 274 groups recognized as terrorist groups and 103 groups of them did not kill anybody. ISIS is considered as the most murderous terrorist group in 2015. Where its attacks undertook attacks in 252 different cities in and was responsible for 6,141 victims in the year.

The most dangerous side of this problem is that it is hard to predict the attacks. For example, half of all plans with an ISIS connection have been fulfilled by people who have had no direct contact with the previous mentioned terroristic organization It has been noted that the most European foreign fighters who joined ISIS basically have high level of education but they have low incomes and maybe ignored in their host societies because of their beliefs and roots or maybe failed to integrate with the western style of life.   The total estimated loss and negative economic effects of terrorism on the global economic reached US$89.6 billion in 2015. While Ninety-three per cent of all terrorist attacks in last fifteen years happened in countries with high levels of corruption and autocracy with high level of criminality and accessibility to weapons like the situation in Syria and Iraq. Only 0.5 per cent of these attacks terrorist attacks happened in countries where no conflict or political disability.

A number of countries recorded their highest death numbers during the last ten years, including France, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia. While Turkey and France being particularly the most affected destinations in 2015. Some countries including; Germany, Sweden, Denmark also recorded the most deaths from terrorism in a single year since 2000 and that’s can be related the mass flow of migrants and refugees in this year. The most significant attacks occurred in Turkey, where both ISIS and the PKK became more active, causing in the total number of deaths rising to 337 in 2015 compared 20 deaths in 2014. Turkey 2015 bombing 33 deaths and 104 injuries by Lone actor (ISIL inspired).Turkey 2016 Atatürk Airport attack 50 deaths and 230 injuries by ISIS. Turkey 2016 February Ankara bombing 30 deaths 60 injuries by the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK) Turkey 2016 Atatürk Airport attack 50 deaths and 230 injuries by ISIS. Turkey 2016 February Ankara bombing 30 deaths 60 injuries by the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK).Turkey 2016 March Ankara bombing 34 deaths and 125 injuries by the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK).


Tourism and Terrorism

The tourism industry has become one of the quickest growing economic in the world. Tourism investments volume equals or exceeds the revenues of oil exports, or even automobiles. Furthermore, tourism sector stands for one of each eleven jobs and for approximately 30% of services exports in the world. The number of Global tourist arrivals according the UNWTO has increased clearly by 4, 3% in 2014 to 1,133 billion (UNWTO, 2015). Several underdeveloped countries gained benefits from this tourism industry even unexpectedly more than developed countries. Many of these benefited countries are mainly endangered by many socio-economic problems, which lead in most situations to an increase the level crime rates. However, terrorism stays the biggest challenge and first source of threat (Baker, 2014). As reported by Baker “many scholars in the tourism industry advocate that being safe on vacation is an expected requirement for any visitor in a tourist destination or city.” Baker (2014, p.58) Additional researches has come that while human-caused disasters and natural effect tourism industry to a certain level, terrorism still tends to threaten more potential tourists more brutally.

The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS):

(ISIS) is an abbreviation to what so called The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham’s strike on Mosul city on June 10, 2014 established its tremendous military strength. ISIS’s actions across Iraq and Syria also expose that this terrorist organization is involved in governance programs, extend from Shari’a law court to aid supply and regulation enforcement. These activates emphasize ISIS’s wish to erect a real functional Caliphate inside the borders of its controlled region. That attempt requires political and religious regulator as well as military victory, and this terrorist organization has a dream for how the Caliphate will shape. ISIS has started to explain its huge strategy to accomplish this end over extensive popular outreach, including an online magazine series called Dabiq.

The Syrian War:

The Syrian civil war still carry on to push the increase in the level terrorism acts in Syria. According to the global index (2016)   there was a 63 per cent increase in the number of deaths in 2015 from terrorism events over the earlier year, rising to 2,761, the utmost yet recorded in Syria. It is possibly that the total number of deaths is much higher in reality. However, because of the high fighting level of the Syrian bloody civil war and ISIS’s regional control in wide places, the data is inaccurate. While there were 17 terrorist organizations that committed terrorist events in 2015, only two organizations were in charge for 75% of total deaths: What so called ISIS and the al-Nusra Front. The current bloody civil war in Syria started in 2011. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights more than 320,000 persons have been passed away in the Syrian civil war as of February 2016.

The most of these deaths are classified as a result of Fighting rather than actions of terrorism. The total number of death from the Syrian war as of February 2016 was 470,000 as stated by the Syrian Center for Policy Research, which is labeled as an independent Syrian research organization. Moreover, the spread and increase of fighting has caused an awful humanitarian crisis. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs more than 6.1 million civilians displaced within the country, and 4.8 million seeking asylum abroad including three millions refuges in Turkey. An estimated 1 million civilians were living in besieged regions and deprived of life-saving help and humanitarian aid by mid-2016.

The Refugees crisis:





Turkey’s failed coup attempt

Turkey witnessed the coup attempt on July 15, 2016, when a unit of the Turkish military launched many operation in numerous major cities to topple the regime and remove President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (The Guardian, 2016). The government in Turkey blames the attempt of failed coup on Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish preacher and businessman. This man is the head of a widespread and well organized influential religious group known as “Hizmet” or (Sevice), which has numerous foundations, associations, foundations, media organizations and schools inside and outside Turkey. As result of that, more than 100,000 Turkish citizens have been fired or suspended, about 37,000 detained 1400 and wounded in an unprecedented operation (BBC, 2016). Many European governments and human rights organizations questioned how the government in Tukey managed to mark the names of tens of thousands of citizens with alleged relations to the Hizmet group only just days following the attempted coup. (CNN, 2016) Consequently, the post-coup purge caused a rift in European Union’s relationships with the Turkey. The EU claimed that Erdogan used the coup attempt as an excuse to abolish the opposition. (The Telegraph, 2016). As result of that, many European, aairways cancelled all flights between Europe and its Turkish destinations including: Bodrum, Dalaman and Istanbul, while, for example, Thomas Cook and Thomson holidays gave refunds or destination to customers booked to travel at that time. Many Travel agencies in Sweden and Europe were flooded with messages from pre-booked holidaymakers, requesting whether they might cancel upcoming journeys to Turkey (The Telegraph, 2016).











According to Macquarie (1999), risk defined as the “exposure to the chance of injury or loss or a hazard or dangerous chance” (Reisinger & Mavondo, 2005). As reported also by Haddock (1993) risk can be classified in three different major types of risk including: absolute, real and perceived risk.  The absolute risk connect to specialists fulfillment safety measures in order to decrease real risk, whereas perceived risk is depicted fromindividual’s observation and knowledge.


Risk Perception:

Tsaur, Tzeng and Wang (1997) described risk in tourism as “being what is perceived and experienced by tourists during the process of purchasing and consuming traveling services” (cited in Reisinge & Mavondo, 2005).

As stated by Cooper et al (2008), the perception of risk related to travel always exposed by an individual’s experience. Meaning, the level to which tourists recognize the risk from terrorist events, is set by many factors. These contain: the level of threat and frequency, the tourist’s perception to risk, and habitually the media coverage of former incidents (Kozak and Andreu, 2006). Each tourist has a different attitude, personality and perceives conditions in different methods, consequently there is no one method to conclude to what degree tourists perceive risk (Pearce, 2007).

Moreover, the component of risk as an element tourist decisions has received very little attention (Um & Crompton 1992; 1990; Sonmez & Graefe 1998b). Probable tourists are mostly exposed to the converge of media for international political disorder and violence. The unstable relationship between terrorism and tourism is somtimes exaggerated by the coverage of media in a way to take down actual possibilities of being attacked by terrorists.  So far there has been no single theory of terrorism, and obviously, its difficulty lies with both the tourism and the media (Korstanje, 2010; Korstanje & Skoll, 2012; 2013; Korstanje & Clayton, 2012). Therefore, perceived risk, for that reason, could outweigh actual level of risk. for destination marketers to understand perceptions and attitudes in a better way, travel risk should be considered in terms of both actual and perceived risk (Baker, 2014).


Tour operators/travel agents and destination image

In the destination choice process, both tour operators and travel agents provides as channels and image makers (Reimer, 1990). They have a very significant role as sales mediators for the provider in the delivery of the “product”. The tour operators and travel agents have progressively emerged as the greatest powerful and significant bodies in the tourism sector, following a role of organizing and forming packaged holidays. They even also symbolize a main source of information participating with the image formation that the tourists base their choice upon (McLellan & Foushee, 1983). Research mainly shows that the first-time tourists typically depend on on professional sources inclding tour operators, travel agents, form their information search attitude (Snepenger, Meged, Snelling & Worral, 1990Bitner & Booms, 1982).

The role of tour operators and travel agents images would influence and in turn be influenced by the images of travelers. By identifying the role of travel agents as both sales and information effect in the process of destination selection behavior, for example, Roehl (1990) studied the case of California-based travel agents’ behavior toward the nation’s Republic of China fowling Tiananmen Square. His research found that the most of the travel agents reject any travel limitations or trade sanctions against China. Roehl claimed that the US tourists be aware of travel-connected risks with the purpose of they would do an informed decision regarding travel to China.


 The impact of terrorism on travel decisión processes ,Sonmez & Graefe  Model (1998, p.124)




Destination Image:

Tourism is generally utilized as the driving power for local development, and it has been usually acknowledged in the literature that the concept destination image has affected tourists’ behaviors (Baloglu and McClearly, 1999; Etchner and Ritchie, 1993; San Martin, Rodriquez and Bosque, 2007). Moreover,  tourists make their selections of where to go constructed on those destination images being portrayed by the destination promoters  yet also built on their own portrays  of a destination which come from numerous different sources and causes, including, occasionally, previous experiences with a destination. Chen and Tsai (2006) state that the estimation of a destination is depend on the value, recognized quality, and whole satisfaction with a destination. Also, destination image may affect the tourists’ future targets to visit and their desire to recommend the visited destination to others. Hence, destination image is an essential concept which tourism administrators and DMOs realize as being one of the greatest significant elements in destination marketing.

The topic of destination image is one of the overmuch researched matters in tourism due to its influence to effect certain images into tourists’ perceptions. The significance of the destination image to the domestic destination promotion organizations and further destination marketers is extremely important as a result of its rule to attract extra tourists to the destination. Fakeye and Crompton (1991) state that images are of vital importance to any destination as they have the control to change and readjust the tourists’ impressions and opinions of a destination and “give him or her a pre-taste of the destination” (p. 10). The destination images believed by customers are so influential that they can either assistance the destination or have a damaging impact. So as to help the destination, images must be unique, attractive, simple, and most significantly, believable and have to be grounded on reality (Kotler & Gertner 2004). Though, as authenticity is a broadly subjective notion, any image can be observed as authentic relying on whom the observer is.

Definition of Destination Image


Destination image effects tourists’ decision-making in terms of where they will spend their holidays and money. The significance of the destination image for the customers lets us to meditate of each destination from the consumer’s perception in regards of how they perceive, understand, utilize and tie to the destination (Kavaratzis and Ashworth, 2004). The term of destination image is defined by Kotler and Gertner (2004) as:

The sum of beliefs and impressions people hold about place. Images represent a simplification of a larger number   of associations and pieces of information connected to a place. They are a product of the mind trying to process and pick out essential information from huge amounts of   data about a place (p. 42)


Since there is no accepted definition for the term of “destination image”, San Martin and Del Bosque (2008) have assembled a table in to display the basic similarities between definitions (Table1).

Figure1: Distination Image Difintions

( San Martin and del Bosque, 2008)


The Role of the Media

As stated by Weimann and Winn (1994) “Media coverage of terrorism or political upheaval has the potential to shape individuals’ images of destinations” ( Baker, 2014). The writers claim that the link between journalists and terrorists who utilize media to stage actions and performances with the aim of receive attention. According to Richter and Waugh (1986) on the other side discuss about the degree to which media increases and influences communication among terrorists. Up to twenty years ago, the means of communication which is known today had no such impact on terrorist actions related to the volume of media which is available and accessible for everyone today. Over the scale of the internet spaces and therefore communication between different separated places is no obstacle for terrorism.


Karbour (1971, p.9) said that “as a symbolic act terrorism can be analyzed much like any other mediums of communication” suggesting that the means of communication and terrorism can be estimated in like manner. Richter and Waugh (1986) claimed that the understanding of the terrorism phenomenon is basically promoted over mass media. According to Pizam (2000) exposed that the means of media are always exaggerating and enlarging the already connection between terrorism and tourism.

figure7: Map of Turkey and borders. Source:




Methodology & Data Collection:


Researches are different in a number of features but they do have some shared aims. One of the mutual features is the need to gather data. According to Heaton that data collection could be obtained from a number of approaches including interviews, surveys, telephone interviews, focus groups, field notes, questionnaires or taped social interaction (Heaton, 2004). Data collection also is an important element to conducting research. Further, data collection is not an easy but rather it is a very complicated and hard task. It is even very hard to pick the best way of data collection. O’Leary stated that “Collecting credible data is a tough task, and it is worth remembering that one method of data collection is not inherently better than another.” (2004, p. 150).

Consequently, which data collection technique according to Ibid to utilize would depend upon the goals of the research and also the advantages and disadvantages of each method? Therefore, In order to gather data, the researcher has to able to access the information that needs to be collected for the research. Data can be collected from a range of sources including the internet, records, workplaces, written documents, surveys or interviews. By identifying all the goals and boundaries of a study, the researcher should select the participants who are relevant in a specific study. The researcher should also takes in consideration the settings where the data collection will be held, the interviewed people who will be participated or even observed (Creswell, 2009).

Creswell (2009), states that “the data collection procedures demand establishing the boundaries of the research and gathering information through various types of methods such as observations, interviews and written materials” (p.177). The aim of the interview in this part tries to identify the extent issues of impacts of terrorism on tourism for Swedish travel agencies decisions in case of Turkey. Furthermore, it seeks to answer my qualitative research questions: What are Swedish travel Agents’ perceptions and how they construct the image of Turkey after the radical Islamic group’s attacks? Are there any differences in agents’ perceptions towards the problem, and what are the factors that contribute to agents’ perception to Turkey`s Image as a destination?

As mentioned above, concerning the mythological choice for study, I employed the qualitative methodology. The research site of the thesis will be in Sweden in closed places with specific organizations including (Resia , Ticket , Ving, Tui…) Submit to 10 travel agents in the city of  Östersund, Eskilstuna and Stockholm to get 10 samples at least. Questionnaire combined with a request letter in form of open ended questionnaire. The data have collected in fortnight .Interview through one sample in separate interview. The duration of each interview takes 15-20 minutes and the response will be recorded by audio recorder tools.  Views, the experience, belief and/or motivation of the participants in specific manner regarding to their perspective.

The initial research method that has used so far was interviews with a travel agents in the city of Östersund, Sweden, as a sample for my next interviews that will be used for the same purpose. For this paper, I have suffered to make an interview but finally I received e-mail from three travel agents travel agents in the city of Östersund, and I did an interview with an agent in the same city. Previously, I sent an open-ended questionnaire combined with a request letter in shape of and semi-structured interview and were sent out to the above mentioned agency for data collection. According to Creswell that the data collection process is outlined in the experimental research section since, data collection and analysis occur the same parallel and it is so challenging to draw the lines between the two in qualitative research. The next segment depicts the approaches which used to collect the research data.


Interviews are discussions, typically one-on-one between a researcher and an individual, meant to collect information on a certain set of topics. Interviews may be conducted personally or over the phone and other means. Interviews are different from surveys by the scale of structure placed on the communication.

Semi-Structured Interview:

Semi-structured interviews are irregular and are commonly used in qualitative analysis. The aim of interviewer not to make the research testing a certain hypothesis (David, & Sutton, 2004). The researcher often has a list of key of questions, themes, issues, and issued to be covered. Moreover, in this kind of interview the sequence of the questions can be changed based on the course of the discussion. An interview guide is also utilized, yet additional questions might be asked. Corbetta, (2003) clarifies semi-structured interviews as follows “The order in which the various topics are dealt with and the wording of the questions are left to the interviewer’s discretion. Within each topic, the interviewer is free to conduct the conversation as he thinks fit, to ask the questions he deems appropriate in the words he considers best, to give explanation and ask for clarification if the answer is not clear, to prompt the respondent to elucidate further if necessary, and to establish his own style of conversation.” So, extra questions that have not been predicted in the beginning of the interview can be requested.

Also, recording tools or note taking documents the interview. This kind of interview provides the researcher opportunities to review for opinions of the participant. Having“ … key themes and sub-questions in advance lies in giving the researcher a sense of order from which to draw questions from unplanned encounters (David, & Sutton, 2004, p. 87).” According to Kajornbbn that the researcher directing semi-structured interviews is freer one than directing a structured interview (Kajornboon, 2004). Patton mentions that “…to explore, probe, and ask questions that will elucidate and illuminate that particular subject … to build a conversation within a particular subject area, to word questions spontaneously, and to establish a conversational style but with the focus on a particular subject that gas been predetermined.” (Patton, 2002, p. 343).


In fact, there are many advantages for the semi-structured interviews. One advantage is that the researcher can investigate deeper into the given situation. In addition, the researcher can clarify or rephrase the questions if answers are uncertain about the questions. As mentioned above, semi- structured interviews were used in this essay because they helped in exposing how the terrorism phenomena was construed by the Swedish travel agencies with the assist of the interview guideline that was utilized to control the issues of discussion by going behind the list of questions that were outlined. The questionnaire was used in this thesis was adopted fromEtchner and Ritchie (1991) a model of destination image, and Sonmez & Graefe Model (1998, p.124). The questionnaire also has shaped based on two themes including destination image, risk perception and the role of media. It has been divided in five sections in form of Open-ended Questions.

Open-ended Questions:

Open- ended questions let the interviewed to express an attitude without being affected by the researcher (Foddy, 1993: 127). As stated by Creswell (2009) open-ended questionnaires are utilized in qualitative research in order to gain the interviewed recognizing of the problem or a social phenomenon. As a result of using of open-ended questionnaires the interviewed explains in writing how they recognize actions in their day to day lives in unrestricted ways. They can express themselves and be as accurate as possible. The advantages of the open-ended questionnaire contain the possibility of exploring the responses that participants give spontaneously, and consequently avoiding the prejudice that could result from suggesting replies to participants, a prejudice which can happen in the case of close-ended questions. One advantage of this kind of questions is that, it exposes individual’s judgement and setting of reference, self-expression, and richness of detail. Although, open-ended questionnaire also have weaknesses in comparison to close ended, for example, the need for considerable coding and larger item non-reply. In the following stages of the questionnaire design, open-ended queries may be used to discover deviant replies to the close-ended questions.

Another disadvantage is that the interviewed could understand the same questions differently therefore giving irrelevant data that could not be necessary in the research results. Additional disadvantage, the interviewed may determine to answer trivially by saying Yes or No responses rather than giving deep explanations of actions. This could influence the process of coding. Furthermore, the researcher has to trust what the interviewed says as an absolute truth. For any reason if the data given is fabricated, the research outcomes could not be trustworthy. Commonly a compromise as concerns the utilizing of open- and close-ended questions is achieved. Many years ago, Lazarsfeld (1944: 38-60) already recommended using open-ended questions at the early stage of questionnaire design However, open-ended questionnaires were used in this essay for the participant refused to be interviewed but instead preferred to answer the research questions via this way.

Data Analysis

In this part, the data collection and analysis process is outlined step by step combined by a discussion of the themes. It is essential to note that in qualitative studies, the data collection and analysis processes are related as mentioned by Creswell (2009).

Coding Data

Coding lies at the core of the persistent comparative method in that components of data are associated to each other in terms of their fitting in the coding structure. Coding does not expressively paraphrase the records; instead it classifies the main categories as well as associated subsections so that, finally, all components of data could be categorized based on these codes (Strauss, 1987). Stempel (1989) mentioned that these categories should be relevant and useful. “By comparing where the facts are similar or different, we can generate properties of categories that increase the categories’ generality and explanatory power” (Glaser & Strauss, 1967, p. 24).

The following steps is taken in consideration this processes. First, Constant comparative method and being deductive and avoiding any premature assumptions. Second, to use critical thinking to synthesize the data. Third to examine the interviews for the travel agents’ insights. Then, to utilize the data from the interviews to corroborate with the findings with other data sources including: newspapers, articles…etc. Finally, being deductive also for other cultural and historical realities related to problem’s context.


After rereading the transcript many times, all the sections were then assigned a code. The procedure described above is designed to as open coding and it involves “breaking down, examining, comparing, conceptualizing and categorizing data” (Boije, 2010 p.96). Boije (2010) mentioned that, open coding is done directly after the first level of data collection when slight is known about the value of the information collected. It is helpful because, it helps in the process of sorting, organizing and classifying the collected information. After collection of data, all the transcripts were examined thoroughly and different segments of the information that had the same theme were gathered together and assigned a code.


All the transcripts were read thoroughly and different parts of the data that had the same topic were grouped together and assigned a code. The next step involved gathering the codes that had the same theme under one category. The process used in this case is called axial coding. Boije (2010) claims that “axial coding relates categories to sub categories , specifies the properties and dimension of a category and re-assembles the data you have fractured during initial coding to give coherence to the emergin





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