Implications and impacts of terrorism on sporting events: is the hospitality industry prepared and equipped to host mega events?
Globally, over a 32 year period to 2003, there were 168 attempts by terrorists to disrupt sporting events (Taylor & Toohey, 2007). These include the 1972 Munich massacre and the 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America (Hall, Marciani & Cooper, 2008). It is these 168 incidents that gave rise to this particular exploratory study which examines the relationship between terrorism and hospitality in New Zealand. The study also examines the level of preparedness of the New Zealand hospitality industry for hosting the Rugby World Cup 2011 (RWC) from 9th September to 23rd October 2011.
Eight participants were selected and interviewed. The participating properties included a serviced apartment building, two hostels / backpackers and five hotels, including a 5-star property. This broad range allowed for the level of preparedness to be investigated for each type of property. Approximately 200 articles were used to provide the framework upon which this research is based. Some of the key themes that were discussed in the interviews were:
- The relaxed attitude of the industry regarding terrorism
- The lack of security vetting
- The direction and support from government agencies
- The impact of political ideology on level of preparedness
- The question who should be responsible for security in the hospitality industry The main finding that underpins this study is the laissez-faire attitude of the industry towards security. There is a level of risk acceptance demonstrated in the collated interview responses. Parallels can be drawn between the responses and one of Hofstede’s (1984) cultural dimensions – uncertainty avoidance, which explains how cultures have different levels of risk acceptance, and some operate under very few regulations and formalities.