Frontline Leisure: Securitizing tourism in the War on Terror

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31 Citations (Scopus)


This article argues that the terrorist bombings of hotels, pubs and nightclubs in Bali in October 2002, and in Mombasa one month later, were inaugural moments in the post-9/11 securitization of the tourism industry. Although practices of tourism and terrorism seem antithetical – one devoted to travel and leisure, the other to political violence – this article argues that their entanglement is revealed most clearly in the counter-terrorism responses that brought the everyday lives of tourists and tourism workers, as well as the material infrastructure of the tourism industry, within the orbit of a global security apparatus waging a ‘war on terror’. Drawing on critical work in international relations and geography, this article understands the securitization of tourism as part of a much wider logic in which the liberal order enacts pernicious modes of governance by producing a terrorist threat that is exceptional. It explores how this logic is reproduced through a cosmopolitan community symbolized by global travellers, and examines the measures taken by the tourism industry to secure this community (e.g. the physical transformations of hotel infrastructure and the provision of counter-terrorism training).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-146
Number of pages20
JournalSecurity Dialogue
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2013


  • tourism
  • terrorism
  • securitization
  • Bali
  • Mombasa
  • hotels

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Sociology and Political Science


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