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ISC 2011

ientific Con Sc

e er


Proceeding of the International Conference on Social Science, Economics and Art 2011
Hotel Equatorial Bangi-Putrajaya, Malaysia, 14 - 15 January 2011
ISBN 978-983-42366-5-6

Proceeding of the
International Conference on Social Science, Economics and Art


ISC 2011

Cutting Edge Sciences for Future Sustainability

Hotel Equatorial Bangi-Putrajaya, Malaysia, 14 - 15 January 2011









Political Stability: Country Image for Tourism Industry in Bangladesh

Md. Abdul Hai and Abdul Razak Chik
PhD candidate, College of Arts and Sciences, Universiti Utara Malaysia e-mail: Professor, College of Arts and Sciences, Universiti Utara Malaysia e-mail:

Abstract-The Bangladesh tourism sector faces various obstacles; from ongoing political chaos, dependency on foreign capital, the industrys unplanned growth that neglects rural poverty, are all factors preventing it from taking off. This paper focuses on the relationships between tourism and human-caused phenomena in Bangladesh by examining the impacts of political instability on tourist demand, the effects of political violence on destination image, crisis management, and recovery marketing efforts. The main objective is to provide a better image for tourism industry in Bangladesh. Keywords: country image, crisis management, international tourism, political instability, recovery marketing.

I. INTRODUCTION In the 21st century, tourism emerges as a significant income generating sector as well as weapon for growth and survival for various countries [18, 22, 39,40,41,42]. Tourism is the largest global industry with continuously growing global market which will triple in size by 2020[50]. Nevertheless, the journey in many countries has been interrupted by huge number of natural and man-made casualties. Besides, numerous natural and human-caused disasters, the threat that accompanies political turmoil tends to frighten potential tourists more severely.

Studies investigating the influences of political unrest and war on the industry focus on specific situations in countries such as the Philippines, Fiji, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tibet, China, Mexico, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Nigeria, Chile, Pakistan, Yugoslavia, Thailand and Bangladesh. These valuable cases will enable readers to analyze and measure the effectiveness of management efforts in tourism sector in worldwide. In the context of Bangladesh, the foreign television screens riots and floods sceneries create a terrible world reputation for her and it seems to be constantly drowning [60]. Thus, it is needed to investigate the root causes for Bangladeshs lagging behind in tourism field and to find the way of taking off.






Organized by Indonesian Students Association Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia



C) Crisis management II. METHODS AND OBJECTIVES The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of human- caused crises such as political chaos, civil unrest, strike, and conflict on country image and intention to visit a country; specifically, for Bangladesh. It is based on literature review from published documents and an exploratory study on the country image of Bangladesh conducted in Malaysia. Ordinal scales in questionnaires and descriptive statistical tools for analysis have been used in the exploratory study. The historical chronology of political violence, civil unrest, strike and conflicts throughout the world have been observed and portrayed as evidences. [17] defined crisis management as the strategies, approaches and measures that are planned and employed to prevent and manage the crisis. [35] states that plans and strategies to cope with different crises vary depending on time pressure, the extent of control and the magnitude of incidents. However, crisis management is a dynamic and continuous process which incorporates both proactive and reactive steps for identifying and planning responses, and confronting and resolving crisis.

D) Country Image [58] stated that the view or impression that consumers have of a country which is based on the country's economic situation, political system, culture, relation with other countries, labor situations, and environmental aspects. [59] denoted that the image is mental reflections of a country's people, products, culture and national symbols.

III. DEFINITION: A) Political Instability Political instability is defined as a situation of a country where a government has been collapsed, or is directed by group following a coup, or where fundamental practical requisites for social-order manage and continuance are unsteady and sporadically interrupted [9]. It has multifaceted and complex natures and impact in many countries worldwide. B) Tourism Crisis A tourism crisis relates to any undesired incident that impacts on tourists confidence to a destination and interferes with its ability to operate normally [49]. [45] stated that a tourism crisis is any event which can be a threat for the normal operations and conduct of tourism related businesses, spoil a tourist destination's image for safety, attractiveness, and comfort by negatively influencing tourists perceptions of that destination and, disrupt the business operations of the local tourism industry by reducing in tourist arrivals and expenditures. [5] noted that a destination crisis is a situation involving drastic management step in response to incidents beyond the internal control of the destination, necessitating immediate adjustment of marketing and operational activities to restore the confidence of employees, related firms and consumers in the feasibility of the destination. According to [17], a crisis is an undesired, exceptional, often unexpected and timely limited process with hesitant development potentials. It needs urgent counter steps to impact the further development again favorably for the organization/destination and to slow down the negative results as much as possible.

IV. CHRONOLOGY OF POLITICAL INSTABILITY: On certain situations, the world continues to be an unsafe place and tourism falls drastically when it comes to insecurity or crisis [3,4,11,43]. [14] explored a large number of crises and disasters that influence the tourism industry and [12] also noted that the external crises make it prone which sometimes beyond the control of its managers and policy makers. Political instability is one of them which can have a dramatic and speedy effect upon levels of business. TABLE I RECENT INCIDENTS AND THEIR IMPACT ON WORLD TOURISM
Year 199196 Country Turkey Incident Kurdistan W. Party bombed tourist sites and kidnapped foreign tourists Croatia-Yugoslav War Impacts Foreign visitor arrivals dropped eight per cent from 1992-1993



Foreign tourists dropped from 7 million in 1990, to 1.23 million by 1995. Visitation to Mexico dropped by 70 per cent. 18-month cease-fire recorded a 68 per cent increase in holiday visitors.



(EZLN) initiated an armed rebellion a bomb exploded in London killing two bystanders and injuring 43 people




1997 1997 1999 2001

Egypt Indonesia Kosovo UK



terrorist attacks at Luxor the economic and political crisis the Kosovo conflict the Foot-andMouth disease outbreak the September 11th 2001 Incident Bomb blast in the island of Bali terrorist attacks at Sharm Al-Sheikh Fighting between Israel and Hezbollah.

Sudden fall in tourist arrival Tourists arrival fell drastically. Redirected tourist arrivals Tourism affected severely

tourists normally try to avoid risky situations or destinations [1,10,20,29,30,46,48].

Cognition Affection Conation


Bali, Indonesia Egypt


Worldwide negative impact on tourism industry. Hotel room occupancy rates fell to less than 10 per cent the number of tourists fell down by 15% 25% tourists arrival fell from the previous year.

Political Stability

Country Image

+ _

Intention to Visit



Israel and Lebanon

Political Instability

Source: Modified from [37]

Fig :1 Conceptual Country Image Mediating Model for Tourism. The fig: 1 is supported by many researches; a few of them have been shown in table II and III below. TABLE II STUDIES OF POLITICAL STABILITY AND POSITIVE RESULTS
Years 1996 1998 2003 2004 2005 Studies Authors Hall and OSullivan Sonmez Israeli and Reichel Neumayer Reisenger and Mavondo Results Political stability Positive country image Positive intention to visit

Table 1 shows a partial view of total incidents that occurred throughout the world that have affected many tourist destinations severely. [5] & [17] stated that tourism destinations are not immune from crisis. The worldwide political vulnerability downturned the tourism demand suddenly and unexpectedly; for instances, the terrorist attacks at Luxor in Egypt in 1997, the on-going Palestinian and Israeli conflict, the Kosovo conflict in 1999, the effects of the Foot-and-Mouth disease outbreak in the UK in 2001, the impact of the September 11th 2001 terrorist attacks in the US, the terrorist attacks in Bali and Kenya, the war in Iraq in 2003, the war in Afghanistan, airport blocked by opposition in Thailand and, more recently, political turmoil in Pakistan . As a consequence of the conflict in Tiananmen Square in China, approximately 11,500 tourists disregarded visits to Beijing in 1989[16]. The Gulf War in 1990 redirection huge tourists away from the Middle East and hotels in Israel were housed for Russian immigrants as a substitute of tourists [23]. Thus, some big issues need to be considered: how do destinations suffered with political instability with negative images? How does the industry manage the crisis of political strife? How can it become immune to the effects of political problems? Extreme events such as terrorism or political vulnerability have negative impact on demand and supply of tourism [33,36]. The absence of terror or violence is a must for the development of destinations to an acceptable level since tourists prefer tranquility and peaceful social environments [28,32,34,44]. [8] explored that the intention to visit a destination is hit by human-caused crises like war, civil unrest, regional tensions, terrorism, political instability, violence of any kind and crime as travelers give highest priority on safety and security. Many have found that the


Years 2001 2002 2004 2005 2007 2008 Studies Authors Pizam and Fleischer, Cavlek Cooper et al., Aktas and Gunlu, Rami Fletcger & Morakabati, Results

Political instability

Negative country image

Negative intention to visit

[47] found that the effect of political crises perhaps spreads to other parts of the country-or even to the neighboring countries-where no such problems exist. [57] explored that a negative image had been arisen in the aftermath of 9/11 on the Arab/ Muslim countries and it stayed for a long time. In Egypt, the number of tourists fell down by 15% as a result of terrorist attacks at Sharm AlSheikh in the year 2005. [44] reviewed a literature for


exploring the relationship between crises (war, crime and other natural disasters) and tourism but the question remains whether these works are enough to understand how the tourism industry can be protected from political instability. Moreover, the image of destinations in touristgenerating regions is highly influenced by the political stability and political relations [19]. The political strife that causes sticky concerns in the attraction of visitors is warfare, coups and political strikes or protests. [2] opine that any evidence of domestic political turmoil influences potential tourists not to visit that country. However, if something happens to disrupt the stability of a country, such as war, political tension, or acts of terrorism, and so on, these can have a powerfully negative influence on tourism demand [27,30].

comments are true, and it is obvious, foreign tourists do not prefer to visit amidst such political instability [31]. The U.S. says, Ambassador Butenis wants for Bangladesh the same things that most Bangladeshis want: a country free from political and terrorist violence, a strong democracy that resolves disputes through non-violent means. A local human rights organization explores that over three-hundred people were killed and nearly ninethousand others were injured in politically motivated violence during 2005 [51]. In 2006, the country experienced terrible labor unrest of causing 300 factories damaging, nearly 100 million dollars loss and hundreds of death and injuries. In addition that, sea and air ports were mostly in stagnant position due to political anarchy and chaos in that period and it is very normal scenario in every regime[6]. Political chaos is so sensitive no foreign tourist want to spoil his/her holidays/vacation in visiting the uncertainties. TABLE IV CHRONOLOGY OF POLITICAL SCENARIO OF BANGLADESH
Year 2001 Incident High Court gave death penalty on 12 ex-army officers for killing Mujib. Bomb kills 10 at a church and at Awami league office in Dhaka kills 22. Eight people are killed and hundreds injured as two bombs explode at a rally in south-west area Bomb blasts in cinemas north of Dhaka kill 17 and injure hundreds. Bomb attack on Muslim shrine in Sylhet kills two and injures UK high commissioner and 50 others. Grenade attack on Awami League rally in Dhaka kills 22 people. Ex minister AMS Kibria is killed in a grenade attack at a political rally. Around 350 small bombs go off in towns and cities nationwide. Labor violent protests damaged hundreds of factories. Election date set at 22 January. Awami alliance says it will be boycott the polls. Consequence Seven killed in bomb blast at a Bengali New Year program in Dhaka. Unrest situation was going on for a few months continuously. Agitation and conflicts are focused in dailies and political turmoil conditions prevail Agitation and conflicts worsen

V. BANGLADESH PERSPECTIVE Bangladesh starts its journey in 1972 after earning glorious but costly independence from Pakistan. Unfortunately, tourism is one of the most neglected sectors till today, though the government keeps on focusing [21]. Asia has done well, for example, Thailand earns per head of US$ 157 yearly in tourism (2004). Compared to other countries, Bangladesh has shown the worst performance in tourism, with less than US$ 0.5 per capita which compares with Sri Lanka at $ 26 and India at $ 6. This disappointing growth in tourism is not only for poor marketing alone. Even though, weak Nation Branding is a strong factor, there are many other factors like; unavailable attractive hotel resorts, poor infrastructure and disappointing customer service are responsible [24]. The tourism sector of Bangladesh is persuasive for attention that has the largest mangrove forest in the world the Sundarbans, the fine-looking hills in Rangamati, the exotic tea gardens in Sylhet, the fantastic lifestyle of the indigenous people in the Chittagong Hill Tracts and Bandarban, the centuries old archeological structures belonging to the Maharajas of past civilizations, the eye-catchy natural scenery in Foy's Lake, and the longest unbroken natural sandy sea beach in the whole planet in Cox's Bazaar. And this is just to name a few attractions that justify Bangladeshs marvelous potentiality for becoming a superb international tourist hotspot but, in reality, that is not exactly the case [31]. The major obstacles for Bangladesh as a vibrant international tourist destination are political instability and insecurity. Efficient security services are pre-condition for modern tourism. Feel unsafe in Bangladesh is a great barrier that discourages not only foreign but also local tourists [31]. "lonelyplanet," comments about Bangladesh: "Discover how special this country is before the tourist hordes catch on," and something like: "Beware of political instability." Both the






Opposition calls 21 general strikes over the course of the year as part of a campaign to oust the government. Hartal, strikes are called frequently The party calls a general strike in protest. Two people are killed and more than 100 are injured. A 14-party alliance campaigns for controversial election officials to be oust. Blockade paralyses the country. Garments labors strikes turns into riot and devastating damage of many factories. Six Islamist militants convicted of countrywide bomb attacks in 2005 are hanged. Government imposes a curfew on Dhaka and five other cities


2005 2006



A state of emergency is declared amd. Fakhruddin takes over as head of caretaker govt. Sheikh Hasina is charged with murder. Begum Khaleda Zia is



under virtual house arrest. Several other politicians are held in an anti-corruption drive. 2009 Sheikh Hasina sworn in as prime minister. The High Court decides that it was the father of PM Sheikh Hasina, who proclaimed independence from Pakistan in 1971.

amid violent clashes between police and students demanding an end to emergency rule. Around 74 people, mainly army officers, are killed in a mutiny by border guards The government bans the local branch of the global Islamist organization Hizb-ut Tahrir, saying it poses a threat to peace.

C) Nepal Although Nepal is a growing tourist nation in the recent time but it passed a bad tenure with much chaos, anarchy and violence that stuck the inflow of tourists. In 2001, Maoists started ruling many distant areas of Nepal and violence spiraled all over the country showing the negative sign in tourism, this can be seen on this years tourist arrival data. The tourist inflow started to increase in 2003 due to cease-fire by Maoists and Nepal Army. Therefore, it simply proves, peace means more tourism business for Nepal.


Note: Modified from BBCs historical chart for Bangladesh (2010)

VI. A FEW EXAMPLES OF POLITICAL VULNERABILITY: [44] has explored examples of highly publicized political conflicts including the 1991 disintegration of Yugoslavia and the ensuing war in Bosnia-Herzegovina together with racial, ethnic and religious conflicts in Burundi, Haiti, India, Pakistan, Rwanda, Somalia and South Africa. Other cases include student uprisings in China and North Korea, and the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict in the Middle East.

[55] Fig:2 Tourists arrival from year 1990 to 2005in Nepal

A) Cambodia Cambodia suffered for decades long guerrilla fighting and it could not focus on tourism development. After rescued from that destructive situation the country started to advance at least in the tourism sector rapidly. In 1998, Cambodia received ninety-six thousand tourists and in 2006, Cambodia received about two million tourists. Although, the only tourism product in Cambodia is its cultural heritage, and the Angkor Wat -- an 11th century temple still it earned $1 billion from tourism in 2006.

D) Thailand Thailand, a country of rising tourist nation in Asia has also hit by the political disturbances in 2009 and 2010. In both the second quarter of 2009 and the second quarter of 2010 show the influence of political riots and uncertainty. It has been figured out that Thailand missed out on in between 1 and 2 million potential extra visitors in both 2009 and 2010[54].

B) Sri Lanka Nearly two decades long political violence and guerrilla fighting pushed the country into frustrating level in the tourist arrivals even though it has everything what are needed for tourism development. Sri Lanka hopes that it will soon deluge over its difficulties that have been plaguing the island nation for decades and will take steps to lure Indian visitors with tours like Ramayana Trail. A senior officer Shafraz Farook remarks that they will offer new and more enchanting tourism products to showcase Sri Lanka as a land that has a lot more to offer than just beaches [53].

[56]Fig: 3 Annual growth in real GDP in Thailand: Q1 2008 - Q1 2010


VII. EXPLORATORY STUDY How the world sees Bangladesh that may be clearer from a self-administered survey result which was conducted for investigating the image of Bangladesh where participating respondents were from sixteen countries. Total sample size was 63 of which 80% were male, 62% were Asian, 38% African, specially 40% Arab, 80% from 25-45 age group, 60% Master& PhD and 80% were upper class. This exploratory study was done using judgmental sampling in the campus of University Utara Malaysia in November, 2009.

B) Intention to visit Bangladesh in the near future In response of whether they had intention to visit Bangladesh, 77% respondents showed reluctance, whereas only 23% intended to visit the country in the near future. When respondents were asked why they were not interested to go to Bangladesh, the answers were many, such as: have no idea, no much tourism, no scope of many things to do, nothing to see there, no good infrastructure, not so beautiful country, no interesting places to visit. The image is the outcome of a negative or a positive perceptions or feeling of potential tourists [7], [38]. Destination images influence a tourists travel decisionmaking, cognition and behavior at a destination as well as satisfaction levels and recollection of the experience [25]. [8] stated that a key determinant in a visitors decision to visit a place is the view of safety and security. [47] explored that the effect of political crises are so strong and perhaps spread to other portions of the country-or even to the neighboring countries-where no such problems exist. Safety and security are inextricably linked to issues of international law and political relationships. Consequently, potential tourists select alternative destination for visiting in any forthcoming holidays or chances.

A) Perception towards Bangladesh: The respondents were asked to tick any one of the 6 words for expressing the image of Bangladesh. Table V and fig: IV show that 44% of the respondents showed Bangladesh as a poor nation, 19% of them expressed Bangladesh as a flood affected country and 10% indicated to political chaos. Three collectively attributed to negative perception on Bangladesh (73%). Whereas the positive attributes (27%) are peaceful nation, tourism, garments industry. In other words almost three fourth higher educated rich people had negative impression on Bangladesh.

TABLE V Attributes Poverty FloodPolitical chaos % 44 19 10 Attributes Peaceful nation Tourism Garments industry % 11 11 3

VIII. AVENUE FOR RESCUE Political instability seems to be a chronic problem for Bangladesh. Since independence, the country has been suffering from political conflict, violence, strikes, civil unrest and weak governance that made her image gloomy. Warm relationships among parties, patience conduct with oppositions, constructive criticism to the government and peaceful co-existence within versatile groups are needed to nurture in political culture in the country. Nevertheless, a strategic management approach for dealing with tourism crises is the key to speedy recovery. Managers and policy makers need to be sincere to incorporate the strategic planning process into their industry to manage and alleviate the negative impact of these crises. [35] also suggested that a strategic management and planning approach to crisis and disaster management can be helpful for managers and policy makers in the tourism industry, especially for destinations that are often affected negatively by external political, economic and social factors beyond the industrys immediate control.

poverty flood tourism peaceful nation

Fig: 4 perception on Bangladesh


It is therefore, becoming more and more important to analyze negative events from every angle, to systematically identify critical success factors, to integrate them and take them into account when considering strategic corporate orientation [17]. The country should make new laws with provision to deal promptly with emerging conditions at various tourist places that could arrange protection of all tourists, with additional emphasis on foreign nationals. If special security forces are developed for that purpose in Bangladesh, it would increase the confidence of the tourists [21].


The Bangladesh tourism industry could not even dig its roots in the last four decades as the country experienced severe political unrest, strikes, hartals and conflicts. Directly political instability creates an image of lawlessness and terrorism and indirectly it damages economic growth and hinders the development of infrastructure and in both the cases, tourists perceive the destination negatively [15]. The government, tourist service providers, investors and mass people of the country need to realize the present long earned negative country image and to be sincere for replacing the culture with empathically nurtured political atmosphere. Good communications based on the principles of honesty and transparency together with communications, promotion, security and market research are the key to successful strategy for crisis management [49]. To achieve these targets, the country needs to chalk out a down-to-earth tourism marketing and country image building strategy and go for aggressive marketing in countries, which produce most of the outbound tourists [21].

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