Recently, Saudi Arabia decided to invest in technology that will reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, which is one of many initiatives in the Middle East that has made it popular among businesses seeking an ecologically-friendly business environment. Prince Mohammed bin Salman also announced the launch of the NEOM project, at a cost of five hundred billion dollars, which is intended to be a green metropolis over thirty times the size of New York city. The NEOM project will establish business and industrial areas which will cross into both Jordan and Egypt, and it will be powered by wind and solar technologies.
The Saudi leadership is well-informed on the risks of environmental degradation. They understand that pollution can have both a financial cost, and reduce the overall quality of life. In a recent report by the Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED), it was stated that although countries in the Arab region contain more than five percent of the world population, they have only one percent of the world’s water resources. Additionally, recent conflicts such as migration throughout the area have created an increased demand for electricity, with the demand for electricity growing over seventy-five percent in the years between 2006 and 2015. The region already has limited natural resources, and this has made the energy resources in the region even more susceptible to climate change.
Therefore, the Saudi government ha decided to review its environmental strategies. According to the Saudi General Authority for Meteorology and Environmental Protection, a recent report cited that shifting toward green technologies and investing in sustainable cities would help mitigate the dangers of pollution, as well as helping stem the damage created by dust storms. Additionally, these cities could treat water pollution, and help boost the levels of carbon dioxide.
With this environmental mandate, there is increased incentive for companies worldwide to invest in Saudi Arabia to help the nation achieve its sustainable goals. Various smart projects, such as the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Centre, highlight energy, water, and other environmental features. However, even with these various projects, a recent AFED survey revealed that the majority of respondents, at over ninety five percent of over 22,000, stated that they do not believe their country is doing enough to combat environmental issues. Additionally, religion also plays a role in the desire for positive environmental change.
Dangers of Terrorism and the Tourism Industry
The threat of terrorism can create both fear and panic. However, safety is requirement for the success of the tourism industry, and a perceived threat of terrorist violence can cause many travelers to be cautions about choosing a particular destination. The number of cancelled visits depends on the specific destination. After the September 11 attacks, the United States government cancelled numerous airports and thousands of scheduled flights. Even after the airports were re-opened, many tourists were cautious about air travels, and there was a reduction of over thirty percent in the demand for air travel for a short period after the attacks. Thus, the damage after a terrorist attack involves not only loss of life and property, it can also significantly reduce a company’s ability to do business. This can create financial losses as well, which can be very costly to the economy.
Terrorism can therefore have detrimental effects throughout a region long after an attack has occurred. Property loss and loss of revenue from cancellations, as well as indirect costs such as the loss of tourism and trade, can negatively impact a tourist destination. Evaluating the specific amounts being lost to terrorist acts can be difficult, particularly due to the number of indirect costs involved. However, the hotel industry has shown that it has become increasingly resilient in the face of terrorism. After the September 11 attacks, the New York City hotel industry took over thirty-four months to recover its occupancy levels, and the larger US market took over forty-five months to fully recover. In 2003, however, after the Madrid bombings, hotels recovered in only twelve months. Following the London attacks in 2005, the local hotel industry was able to recover in only nine months.
One of the primary reasons many countries have been able to show increasingly resiliency following a terrorist attack is because of enhanced security protocols. By taking action first, rather than simply responding to an attack, nations have learned how to be proactive in combating terrorism. Nations now have more thorough contingency plans, as well as implemented disaster recovery programmes and various protocols designed to manage risk. Countries that suffer an attack are now more communicative with other countries during a time of crisis, asking them for support, or collaboration on evacuations if necessary. While local and domestic travelers may be hesitant to visit a region due to an isolated attack, the international demand is often determined by nationally-issued threat advisories. When faced with possible acts of terrorism, both governments and businesses within the country should seek to actively help the tourist industry recover after an attack. This should involve ensuring safety protocols are in place, as well as advertising to tourists in order to change negative perceptions of the area. This can be done through a concerted media effort, and by conduction an effective communication campaign. By working together, governments and business can develop new strategies that will re-attract tourists to the region, leading to shorter recovery times in the tourist industry if an attack occurs.