Terror and Tourism: The Economic Consequences of Media Coverage


We combine monthly aggregated and anonymized credit card data on tourism spending from 114 origin countries in 5 tourist destinations (Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia, Israel and Morocco) with a large corpus of news coverage of violent events. This allows us to separate the effect of events at the destination from the effect of news reporting at the origin of cardholders. We develop a model of tourist beliefs, actual violence and news coverage to quantify the effect of coverage. When a country is perceived as dangerous, aggregate spending falls by 55 percent. More than half of this effect comes from media coverage.