Disaster Tourism Can’t Trump Safety Concerns
US President Donald Trump’s reported analysis of the threat to the US territory of Guam posed by an apparently trigger-happy North Korean supremo is certainly “out of the box” if not the mind. Perceiving the threat of a missile attack by a hostile nation as a tourism booster for the tiny military base-laden Pacific island is curious indeed. Next someone might predict a tourism surge in northeastern India as a fallout of the Doklam standoff. Given that potential visitors to Guam – especially the Japanese, who comprise 75% of the current inflow – have many more equally idyllic islands in the Pacific to choose from that are not in the crosshairs of a bellicose East Asian leader, not even the lure of the world’s largest K-Mart may prove irresistible. Even those with a yen for disaster tourism tend to go there after the catastrophic event, not before or during the mayhem. Of course, the governor of Guam appears to share his president’s optimism on the tourism front, as he has reportedly claimed hotel occupancy currently stands at 95% and would rise to 110% “after all this stuff calms down”. However, the fact that there have supposedly been no cancellations despite the sabre rattling between the US and North Korea should make the presidents of both those nations wonder how seriously the travelling public takes them.