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Tourist trap: how news of terrorism skews our holiday choices

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

If you’d like to pitch your own article idea to The Conversation, please contact either or

Grzegorz Kapuscinski, Lecturer in Marketing Management, Bournemouth University

Terrorist attacks are designed to intimidate and change behaviour. It should be no surprise then that we allow fear to be a great motivator when we plan trips abroad. News of an attack is a vivid factor as we decide where to travel with our families, perhaps to places of which we know little else. Efforts by reporters to appeal to our concerns end up feeding us the prompts to avoid certain countries or cities, hammering an often crucial tourism industry in the process.

Ever since real-time news coverage brought the horror of the 2001 World Trade Center attacks into people’s homes, global audiences have become used to watching such events unfold on screen. Recently, we have witnessed shootings at Port El Kantaoui beach, near Sousse in Tunisia in 2015, the Bataclan attack in Paris in the same year, and the New Year’s Eve nightclub shootings in Istanbul less than two months ago.

These are all key holiday destinations. The tactics used and the damage inflicted may differ, but every attack has the potential to stop us in our tracks. This is clearly of huge significance to the tourism and hospitality sectors.


The first problem is obvious. Uncertainty around safety often translates into avoidance of those places considered dangerous. Holidays are postponed or cancelled. Ultimately, limitations are placed on tourists’ freedom of mobility.

Unsurprisingly, the tolerance of potential physical harm is low in discretionary travel, where other options are readily available and the destination can be incidental. Terrorism has served to highlight the fragility of the tourism industry: the displacement of holidaymakers has caused severe economic losses. In Tunisia, where tourism accounts for 15% of GDP, the effect has been stark, with 2016 revenues cut by half from a year earlier.

In Turkey, which suffered from a wave of attacks during 2016, the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies has predicted a negative impact on tourism revenues of £2-2.5 billion.

In truth, many potential holiday destinations will have a recent or more distant history of safety issues of one kind or another. In an era of uncertainty, under pressure of time, family member concerns, and the risk of financial loss, many tourists turn to the news media for explanation. The question is, how do we arrive at our final decisions?

Judgement call

Years of study on the psychology of risk suggests that the way the public assess danger has much more to do with stuff like emotional responses, their perceived level of control, or their familiarity with a hazard, than official statistics.

News stories of new and emerging hazards often entail multiple storylines, especially in times of conflicting accounts and factual uncertainty. These act as qualitative indicators of risk that allow audiences to simplify complexity and categorise the situation as involving more or less danger. And so terrorism which is framed as religious extremism can appear irrational, beyond compromise and uncontrollable, and can lead to higher levels of perceived risk.

One recent study I carried out with Bournemouth Professor Barry Richards has shown that small variations in news reports can lead to significant changes in leisure tourists’ risk perception. We all have our own unique set of experiences that dictate how we digest news. However, it seems likely that tourists, who instinctively seek to minimise risk will – after years of exposure to coverage – share a deep pool of associations to terrorist attacks: why they are carried out, and who is likely to be targeted. This allows them to create a coherent picture, a mental shortcut which feeds decision making around a fraught and complex task.

It can come down to details. One experiment in the study mentioned above suggests that if articles emphasise the proximity of a bomb explosion to points of tourist interest, or reference other events where tourists were harmed, then there tends to be a greater judgement of risk. It’s the same for an alleged link to religious extremism as opposed to other things, such as a domestic separatist movement.

Moving target

We are also sensitive to accounts from the general public when assessing risk related to terrorism. Reports which quote reactions from local people and which stress the relative newness of the problem, and a lack of confidence in maintaining order and normality, lead to higher estimations of risk. Portrayals of the incident that stress resilience decrease perceived risk.

This doesn’t mean that the media has an agenda in pushing an intimidating interpretation of these events, or that audiences can be easily influenced. The point is that journalists who report on these tragic incidents do so in a style that seeks to resonate with the audience. That means using templates which appear to give information which helps us protect ourselves and our loved ones. It is this transaction which can end up devastating a country’s tourism revenues.

In fact, interviews I carried out with my colleague after the study demonstrated that news consumers have become able to do the job themselves. Even when exposed to reports that aim to soften perceived risk, the audience can use examples of other events when tourists were targeted to interpret destinations as particularly dangerous. For example, a report that stressed a focus on military targets in remote areas of a destination was met with distrust by a tourist who believed the information was intended to downplay the magnitude of risk to Western tourists.

Those “gut feelings” we use to make difficult decisions like this under pressure may actually be wired in from exposure to news coverage. The hard bit is to acknowledge that and manage our responses to emotive and vivid content which can cloud reason and lead us to over- or underestimate risk.

Eating out in Britain: the feeding habits of non-native pitcher plants

Recent work from Bournemouth University indicates that these non-native pitcher plants are consuming bumblebees but their current impact is limited.

In a bog in Dorset grow a small patch of the strange, alien like forms of the invasive pitcher plant Sarracenia purpurea. It is adapted to the poor soils of American wetlands and therefore supplements its diet with insect prey, luring them in with the promise of sweet nectar.


Photo by Anita Diaz

It is not every day that an invasive plant species also counts as predator and this can prove a challenge for management. The pitchers are one such case and a research team from Bournemouth University have been investigating the impact these invaders are having on the native bumblebees. They have done this by looking at the contents of the pitcher’s


Their results showed that no rare bumblebee species were found in the sampled pitchers from 2012-14. In 2013 the pitchers were found to be consuming a considerable amount of bumblebees (101 bees in the 170 pitchers sampled), however, very few bumblebees were caught in 2012 and 2014. Bumblebees also seem to be attracted to pitchers where the pitchers grow in higher density, suggesting that the bumblebees are treating the pitchers as they would another floral resource, despite individuals being trapped.

It is quite probable that the bumblebees feed off the flowers of the pitcher plants, as they do in the plant’s native America as well as the nectar from traps. It is also likely, due to the low capture rate of pitchers (around 1 in 100 insects get caught) that the majority of visiting bumblebees are getting a ‘free meal’ in a bog habitat with limited other resources.

‘It could very well be that the sugar rich solution produced by the pitchers, coupled with the low trapping rate of pitchers, is worth the risk to our native bees’ Dr Liz Franklin

bee in pitcher

Photo by Anita Diaz

It is important to prevent the spread of invasive plants like S. purpurea, as they can have a drastic impact on our native plant life and wildlife, however in a sensitive bog habitat with Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) status, removal could cause severe damage to the native habitat and risk the further spread of the invasive.  It is hoped that this work will help inform when and where management of S. purpurea is needed in its invasive populations around Europe

Although further work needs to be done on the interactions between invasive pitcher plants and their native prey, the pitchers might not be as bad for our bogs and their fauna as first thought, although it will be important to keep an eye on them.


Want to find out more, visit our open access article

Franklin E, Evans D, Thornton A, Moody C, Green I, Diaz A. Exploring the predation of UK bumblebees (Apidae, Bombus spp.) by the invasive pitcher plant Sarracenia purpurea: examining the effects of annual variation, seasonal variation, plant density and bumblebee gender. Arthropod-Plant Interactions.:1-0.



Creative Writing for Academics Two-day Workshop

The Creative Writing for Academics Workshop with Kip Jones will take place at the Executive Business Centre 20th & 21 April, 2017.


The last workshop filled up quickly.

Don’t wait too late to register. Do it today!


Write your life story on a postcard

Chose one of 11 B&W photos and write 1,000 word story about it.

Share with others who chose the same photo.

P1020055-001 P1020073-001

Just a few of the exciting writing exercises that take place over the two days.

Writing quotes





Creative Writing

Call for Papers: Machine Learning in Medical Diagnosis and Prognosis

This is a call for papers for the Special Session on Machine Learning in Medical Diagnosis and Prognosis at IEEE CIBCB 2017.

The IEEE International Conference on Computational Intelligence in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (IEEE CIBCB 2017) will be held at the INNSIDE Hotel, Manchester from August 23rd to 25th, 2017.

This annual conference has become a major technical event in the field of Computational Intelligence and its application to problems in biology, bioinformatics, computational biology, chemical informatics, bioengineering and related fields. The conference provides a global forum for academic and industrial scientists from a range of fields including computer science, biology, chemistry, medicine, mathematics, statistics, and engineering, to discuss and present their latest research findings from theory to applications.

The topics of interest for the special session include (but are not limited to):

  • Medical image classification
  • Medical image analysis
  • Expert systems for computer aided diagnosis and prognosis
  • Pattern recognition in the analysis of biomarkers for medical diagnosis
  • Deep learning in medical image processing and analysis
  • Ethical and Security issues in machine learning for medical diagnosis and prognosis

Up-to-date information and submission details can be found on the MLCIBCB web-page. The submission deadline is the 31st of March, 2017.

Please e-mail with any questions.

Three tales of sexual intrigue from Kip Jones

C4nQP3CXUAAICo9 ‘True confessions: Why I left a traditional liberal arts college for the sins of the Big City’ by Kip Jones has been published today in Qualitative Research Journal (QRJ)

Three tales of sexual intrigue from Kip Jones.  A story, a reminiscence, and a scene from a film.

By means of several auto-ethnographic stories (including a scene from a working script for a proposed film), the author interrogates numerous ideas and misconceptions about gay youth, both past and present. 

Being straight or being gay can be viewed within the wider culture’s need to set up a sexual binary and force sexual “choice” decision-making for the benefit of the majority culture. Through the device of the fleeting moment, this essay hopes to interrogate the certainties and uncertainties of the “norms” of modernity by portraying sexuality in youth.

Also available as a draft on

New paper published by CMMPH’s Dr. Susan Way

This week saw the pre-publication of ‘Core principles to reduce current variations that exist in grading of midwifery practice in the United Kingdom’ in Nurse Education in Practice.  This paper is co-authored by Dr. Susan Way in the Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH).  The authors argue that these core principles could contribute to curriculum development in midwifery and other professions internationally.



Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen



  1. Fisher, M., Way, S., Chenery-Morris, S., Jackson, J., Bower, H. Sue Way Feb 2017(2017) Core principles to reduce current variations that exist in grading of midwifery practice in the United Kingdom, Nurse Education in Practice (forthcoming) see:


14:Live with ORI

The first 14:Live of 2017 features BU’s Orthopaedic Research Institute (ORI) on Thursday 16 February.

Healthcare professionals will play a major role at some point in our lives.

BU’s ORI is working to make a real difference both locally and globally, in orthopaedic surgery, related diseases and treatments.

One particular area of expertise for ORI is osteoarthritis, which is a common form of joint disease. Clinicians in Dorset are frequently faced with the disease, owing to the large numbers of older people living in the region. This is an areas that ORI is currently working to make a real difference in.

They’re also experts in hip replacements and are currently looking at how blood flow can help post surgery recovery. As well as having a chance to hear about the life changing research and work from ORI, you’ll be able to test out the Laser Speckle Contrast Imager (LSCI) which is used to visualise blood flow and measure micro circulation just below the skin’s surface.

Join us on Floor 5, Student Centre at 14:00-15:00 to hear from ORI’s Project Manager, Shayan Bahadori and test out the LSCI.

All students and staff are welcome!

High Dynamic Range Point Cloud Rendering

We would like to invite you to the latest research seminar of the Centre for Games and Music Technology Research.


Speaker: Dr Carlo Harvey


Title:     High Dynamic Range Point Cloud Rendering


Time: 2:00PM-3:00PM

Date: Wednesday 15th February 2017

Room: PG11, Poole House, Talbot Campus


Abstract: As a new member of staff, I feel it useful to use this opportunity to briefly present my previous research in the field of physically based rendering.

This seminar however, will be mainly focussed upon introducing the challenges that enshrine my current research into synergising High Dynamic Range and Point Cloud data. Specifically the work presented will introduce a technique in development to flip the standard paradigm of geometry triangulation and re-topologisation from Point Cloud data. Instead, this fairly laborious, and often manual process, is optimised away from the rendering pipeline and rendering is instead conducted on a set of generated point lights and estimated surfaces reconstructed from a sparse set of points.


We hope to see you there.

Spotting an opportunity – A research journey from face blindness to super recogniser

Sarah Bate image

“The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.” – Peter Drucker[1]

What’s your job? is a question I’m regularly asked by family and friends. For me, one of the easiest ways to explain this is to use some of the research and project collaborations I have the chance to be involved within my role at the university; as examples.

Managing the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) portfolio at BU means I have the chance to work with many innovative and sometimes “quirky” projects. HEIF whilst not the only fund that encourages innovation and knowledge exchange often provides funding where there may not be such a natural fit from some of the more traditional funding sources. Many project teams use HEIF to leverage further research and grant opportunities, having developed relationships and networks with organisations as part of their HEIF project.

Research into Prosopagnosia (Face Blindness) formed part of Dr Sarah Bate’s early years as both a student and academic. Funded by the ESRC and MRC Sarah’s doctoral research examined eye – movement  strategies in people with prosopagnosia.(2009)

Much of  Sarah’s work examines the nature of face-processing difficulties in both adults and children, with a particular focus on ‘prosopagnosia’ or ‘face blindness’, where people cannot recognise others from their faces alone. Including a Roundtable discussion in the House of Commons, development in this area of research subsequently informed policy  with the NHS recognising this as a condition  – NHS Choices Website.(2014)

Sarah’s more recent research  has progressed to the other end of the facial recognition spectrum moving from prosopagnosia, the inability to recognise familiar faces, to super-recognisers who have exceptional face processing skills.

In 2009, the first report of people with extraordinary face recognition skills (so-called “super-recognisers”) was published, followed by a further investigation in 2012. Both papers examined the performance of super-recognisers on laboratory-based tasks, using tests that are typically used to assess those with prosopagnosia.

These so-called “super-recognisers” may be of particular use in policing and national security settings, such as passport control or when hunting for a wanted or missing person. The lab at BU is now developing a specific line of expertise in forensic face recognition.  Funding from HEIF has helped with this development. (2015 – 2017.) Collaborations with organisations such as the police have progressed from  local to national and international  relationships, in addition to the security agencies.

Being agile and adaptable to  look at different  funding opportunities and changes within the external environment has provided Sarah with the opportunity to consider how her research can make an impact beyond the NHS as her research goes form strength to strength to address the practical applications and need,  utilising super-recognisers for policing and border control.




British Academy Flagship Skills Project – The value of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

british_academy_logoThe British Academy is launching an exciting new project which aims to articulate, for the first time, the skills that are inherent to the study of arts, humanities and social sciences (AHSS), their value to the individual, and the contribution they do make and could make in future to society.

Building on the success of its Languages and Quantitative Skills (LQS) Programme, the British Academy is developing a new programme of work on skills. The flagship project of this programme aims to articulate the skills that are inherent to the study of arts, humanities and social sciences (AHSS), their value to the individual, and the contribution they do make and could make in future to society as well as those that are important for educators of AHSS students to introduce directly. The Academy hopes to stimulate and facilitate a national debate about the nature and value of these skills, as well as setting the agenda for its own Skills Programme to 2020.

The project will seek to intellectualise what is meant by skills, and look at questions such as what skills should studying AHSS develop? What skills do individuals who have studied AHSS demonstrate? What contribution do individuals with AHSS skills make to society and the economy? What skills do employers want? What skills will be needed in the future

To find out more, download their introductory booklet here

The Call for Evidence document is available to download here

People talkingWho should respond?

The Academy is seeking the views of a broad range of stakeholders in the education and skills sector, including but not limited to education providers, learned societies, careers advisory services, students, employers and policy-makers.

How to respond

Please ensure that all responses are in Microsoft Word format (not PDF), and that they include concrete examples wherever possible and are fully referenced where appropriate. Responses should not exceed 3000 words and should be as clear and succinct as possible. Please submit your completed response to by Wednesday 15 March 2017.

New Book Series: Routledge Studies in Espionage and Culture

A new book series seeks to generate new insights into the connections between espionage and culture. During the second half of the twentieth century the public became aware of the importance of the role of espionage and security services. Television, radio and print news reported shocking events including the defection of Soviet moles like Kim Philby, Guy Burgess and Donald McLean; the Profumo affair of 1963 that exploded when the British Secretary of State for War, John Profumo, had an affair with a woman who was in contact with the Soviet security services; and the state censorship of Peter Wright’s memoir Spycatcher (1987). Whilst the news sparked the public interest popular culture soon followed and the 1950s and 60s saw the resurgence of spy books, films and television series. The James Bond franchise of books and films began in 1953 with the publication of the book Casino Royal. Bond achieved mass popularity in 1962 with the cinematic release of Dr No. Over the coming decades twelve authors have written James Bond novels or shorts stories and he has been played by seven actors with the books and films enjoyed by millions. Other authors such as John le Carré and Len Deighton released bestsellers which were adapted for film and television and brought an often more realistic version of spying to an international public.

The twenty-first century has seen no reduction in espionage intrigues and spy culture. The Edward Snowden release of American intelligence secrets , the murder of Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006 and most recently the accusations that American President Donald Trump had been compromised by the Russian security services, who had also undertaken the mass hacking of American government computers during his election campaign, have ensured that espionage remains in the public eye. These news stories have seen the emergence of new espionage culture. The James Bond series remains as popular as ever. Le Carré’s Tinker Tailor, Soldier, Spy was remade in 2011. And in BBC’s The Game (2014) and FX’s The Americans (2013), the link to the Cold War remains close to the public association with espionage culture. This link has generated nostalgia for the Cold War with many people perceiving the era as relatively safe with the intelligence game making the world more secure than it is today with the asymmetric terrorist threat.  The spy genre has also evolved and series like Homeland from 2011, the BBC’s Spooks and Channel 4’s recent reality-television series Spies (2017) have given viewers an inside view on the nature of modern espionage. Spy scandals and spy culture continue to play a key part in news and entertainment and capture the public imagination

Jointly edited by Dr Nicholas Barnett, Lecturer in Twentieth Century History at Plymouth University and Dr Laura Crossley, Lecturer in Film at Bournemouth University, ‘Routledge Studies in Espionage and Culture’ is a major new books series which seeks to investigate representations of the intelligence world and how we interact with it. The scope of the series is international and it seeks to blend several disciplines including cultural studies, history, literature and film studies. Books published in the series will investigate topics including: the spy novel, films, television shows, documentaries, games, music, fashion and materiality. Whilst books on the representation of intelligence agencies in popular culture are welcome the editors also welcome contributions which investigate political cultures and the everyday lives within the organisations themselves as well as wider considerations of surveillance culture. Scholars have long been interested in the representation of spies and spying and this series seeks to establish itself as one of the key outlets for continuing that scholarly conversation. Where possible the monographs and collections of essays will be include comparative international studies but submissions will also be welcomed which examine significant national cultures. The series does not seek to limit itself to any particular time period and will publish accounts of both historic and contemporary espionage and culture. Each book will feature a unique introduction written by the series editors.

Editors: Dr Laura Crossley (Bournemouth University)

Dr Nicholas Barnett (Plymouth University)

Centre for Qualitative Research presents “Appreciative Inquiry” … in Conversation!

13432167_10154245215569855_4045956637427322389_n-001The Centre for Qualitative Research presents Clare Gordon and Caroline Ellis-Hill

“In Conversation…” about Appreciative Inquiry” next Wednesday at 1 pm in RLH 201.

The two will present the research method as a CONVERSATION…first, between each other, and then with the audience.  We are also asking that no PowerPoint be used in order that it is truly a conversation and NOT a lecture. All are welcome!

The series has been very popular so far, playing to a jam packed room. Come and join in the conversation. Many of us go to Naked next door for coffee following to continue the conversations and network.

Come along and join in the conversation!

Post-Doc Researcher on VeggiEAT Project


We are happy to welcome our new post-doc on the VeggiEAT project Dr Vanessa Mello-Rodrigues.

Vanessa MelloRodriguesVanessa is a Registered Nutritionist and holds both a Ph.D. and Master degree in Nutrition from Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil. Vanessa’s research interests are mainly related to policy aspects of health promotion and nutrition, with attention to the prevention of childhood overweight and obesity through the promotion of healthy eating. She has been involved in projects related to different aspects of food and menu labelling, which were supported by the Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI) and by the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq).

#realworldresearch Campaign

Great news for the Faculty of Management and Department of Tourism and Hospitality, this month, Emeralds #realworldresearch follows the theme of ‘Happy New You’ and includes a paper published in the British Food Journal:

Lorraine Brown, John Edwards, Heather Hartwell, (2013) “Eating and emotion: focusing on the lunchtime meal”, British Food Journal, Vol. 115 Iss: 2, pp.196 – 208

Further information on the campaign can be seen here:

This article will be on free access until the 17th February 2017