The risk of getting killed in a terrorism attack whilst travelling is very low but increasing
SDG 16 promotes peaceful and inclusive societies. Reducing violence and death is a key indicator within this goal. Building on the Terrorism Database provided by the University of Maryland. For more details on the original database click here.
The tourism indicator measures the number of fatalities per year due to terrorism acts that involve air travel, specific tourist activities (e.g. staying in a resort or going on a tour), and being caught up in a tourism-relevant attack, for example targeted at public events, trains, subways, social gatherings, or entertainment activities. More specifically, fatalities were counted across the following targets:
Air: Airports, aircraft and airline officers.
Tourism specific: Specifically including tour buses, tourists, or “tours”, hotels and resorts, and travel agencies.
Tourism relevant: “Entertainment/Cultural/Stadium/Casino”, “Public Area” (garden, parking lot, garage, beach, public building, camp), “Procession/Gathering (funeral, wedding, birthday, religious)”, “Vehicles/Transportation” (namely taxis, buses and bus stations, subways, and trains, tracks and train stations), and “Maritime targets” (e.g. ships, ferries, yachts).
- In 2016, a total of 34,676 people lost their lives as a result of terrorism; 3,746 less than in 2015. Based on the above defined tourism relevant sub-targets, there were 6,609 fatalities that either directly involved tourists or events and locations that are frequented by tourists. A considerable number of fatalities occurred in public places (city, suburb), and in particular in Iraq and other Middle Eastern and Sub-Saharan countries. For many of these places, the tourism relevance is very low.
- It is therefore more useful to consider the tourism specific targets, and countries that are frequented by visitors. When only considering air travel related fatalities, for example, the total number in 2016 was 170, compared with 238 in the previous year. Terror-related killings at tourist hotels, on tourist tours or targets at tourists directly amounted to 454, a doubling compared with 2015.
- When compared with the number of international arrivals in 2015, the probability of being killed in a terror attack was 5.35 chances in a million. Again it is important to note that this is a global average and country specific risks would be much lower.