Tourists are choosing to avoid Europe because of the uptick in attacks in recent years. Since 2015, Europe has been the location of 15 deadly terror attacks. Hundreds of plots were foiled before terrorists had a chance to carry them out. According to a survey by Travelzoo, 93 percent of people planning their holiday trips are influenced by the risk of terror. The survey polled people in several countries including China, Germany, and the United States.
The State Department warns travelers going to Europe to "always be alert to the possibility that terrorist sympathizers or self-radicalized extremists may conduct attacks with little or no warning." That's the reality of the world we live in today. Paris lost over 1.5 million tourists due to terror concerns in 2016, although those numbers are beginning to bounce back.
Although attacks remain rare, terrorists typically target areas with high concentrations of tourists. In Spain, ISIS attacked Las Ramblas, a popular tourist destination in Barcelona. In France, terrorists have been targeting music venues, holiday celebrations, and churches. These attacks on public spaces mean there's no real way to avoid attacks, you just have to hope nothing happens while you're there. And in all likelihood, nothing will happen. But you never know.
That uncertainty is enough to deter some tourists. Holidays are supposed to be relaxing. Why worry about terror attacks, no matter how unlikely they are.
Experts say tourists shouldn't worry about terror. Yes, they're horrific and yes, they do happen. It's incredibly unlikely that it will happen to you. You're 1,277 times more likely to die from a heat wave Europe than from a terror attack. Even when you calculate the numbers in an extreme year for terror attacks, like 2016, you end up with a terror death rate of .027 deaths per 100,000 people. That's still fewer than deaths from lightning strikes, traffic accidents or murders.
Worrying about terror during your vacation is like worrying about being struck by lightning every time you step out of your house. Lightning is a real problem. Lightning kills plenty of people each year. Lightning attacks are often unpredictable and scary. But you don't see people worrying about being struck by lightning during their trip to Europe.
This latest wave of terror attacks is nothing compared to what Europe saw in the '70s, '80s, and '90s. The chart below only goes until 2015, but it shows the long-term trend. Europe has been through much worse. Don't let the media hysteria scare you.