Sir Richard Branson: More travel, not less, is the best way to defeat terrorism

 

What a wonderful reaction from marathon runners, supporters, businesses, charities, government and people all over the world in supporting those affected by the Boston bombings. As well as showing support for victims, getting on with life is the best way to show terrorists they will not win.

Thomas L Friedman wrote eloquently in The New York Times why we should not let terrorist acts change our way of life: "We do know now, after 9/11, after all the terrorism the world has seen in the last decade, what the right reaction is: wash the sidewalk, wipe away the blood, and let whoever did it know that while they have sickeningly maimed and killed some of our brothers and sisters, they have left no trace on our society. Terrorists are not strong enough to do that – only we can do that to ourselves – and we must never accommodate them."

I wholeheartedly agree, and this is why travel advisories stopping people visiting countries due to terrorist attacks should be banned. The reason for this is that they are exactly what the terrorists want.

Terrorists put bombs in a Bali nightclub – then for the next 10 years Bali's economy has been ruined because travel advisories stop tourists from travelling there. Australians, who comprise the most important market for this corner of South-east Asia, are urged to "exercise a high degree of caution in Indonesia, including Bali, at this time due to the high threat of terrorist attack".

Terrorists carried out a kidnapping in Kenya – and the US Department of State, by including the word "warning" in their travel advisory, has effectively negated all insurance, devastating industries from tourism to film (and even contributed to making it uneconomical for Virgin Atlantic to continue flying there).

Anyone considering a trip to Egypt who consults the Foreign Office Facebook page is told: "There is a high threat from terrorism. Although security is tight, especially in resort areas, there remains a high risk of attacks which could be indiscriminate, including in public places frequented by foreigners." Yet during all the upheavals of the past two years, tourists have been virtually unaffected.

Conversely, if a terrorist attack happens in the US or the UK, governments and people show 100 per cent support and sympathy – as they rightly should. After 9/11, we immediately sent a plane of people over to help, and made an extra special effort to encourage people to travel to New York. After 7/7, visitors to London continued to flock in. It is also important to support the small businesses in Boston, that were closed during the manhunt, as they try to recover.

From now on, the right thing is for every country to not put out advisories against nations that suffer terrorist attacks, but instead continue to aid them, through tourism and trade. Help people when they are most in need of support.

 

Sir Richard Branson is the founder of Virgin Group and president of Virgin Atlantic. A version of this column first appeared on his blog, available at virgin.com/richard-branson

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Guru Careers: International Project Coordinator / Account Coordinator

    Circa £26,500 DOE: Guru Careers: An International Project Coordinator / Accoun...

    Guru Careers: Plumber / Maintenance Operator

    £25k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Plumber / Mainten...

    Recruitment Genius: Travel Customer Service and Experience Manager

    £14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...

    Recruitment Genius: Network Executive - Adrenalin Sports - OTE £21,000

    £19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you looking for an exciting...

    Day In a Page

    Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

    Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

    After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
    The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

    After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

    Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
    Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

    Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

    The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
    10 best sun creams for kids

    10 best sun creams for kids

    Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
    Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

    Tate Sensorium

    New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
    Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

    Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

    He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
    Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

    Remember Ashton Agar?

    The No 11 that nearly toppled England
    Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

    US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

    Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

    'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
    The male menopause and intimations of mortality

    Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

    So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
    Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

    'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

    Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
    Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

    Bettany Hughes interview

    The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
    Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

    Art of the state

    Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
    Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

    Vegetarian food gets a makeover

    Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks