Can terrorism be defeated through travel?

Are knee-jerk travel warnings the right approach to keep citizens safe and business booming?

Sir Richard Branson believes that travel advisory groups are playing into terrorist hands by issuing warnings that not only hamper the tourism industry but affect our way of life.

The founder of the Virgin Group and President of Virgin Atlantic praises the support offered to those affected by Boston, but also noted in a recent blog post that terrorist acts should not be allowed to impact our daily life. Citing New York Times writer Thomas L Friedman, Branson agrees that after such acts, we should "wash the sidewalk, wipe away the blood" and let the incident "leave no trace on our society or way of life."

Based on this, the Virgin boss believes that travel advisory agencies which prevent people from visiting countries associated with attacks should be banned -- as we then allow terrorists to get what they want. The example of Bali, where tourism has been ruined for ten years due to bombing in a nightclub, is noted.

Branson makes an interesting point; Keyna's kidnapping reputation and the U.S. Department of State's "warning" notice makes insurance difficult, and so tourists are deterred from visiting. Virgin Atlantic itself stopped flying to the country, and the tourism industry has been devastated -- which in turn has crippled businesses. However, even though the U.K. and U.S. have also been victims of such crime and attacks, support rather than penalties are issued.

Aid and support are necessary for recovery. By making insurance difficult and deterring visitors to some countries but not others, are we taking the correct stance on terrorism and risk -- or destroying economies instead of supporting them?

Read More: The Virgin Blog

Image credit: Flickr

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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