Editors note: Sept. 11, 2001, was a day that impacted Americans everywhere, and fallout from that day continues to change us every day. The Collegian has contacted several professors to see how the day has changed their area of study. Below is one perspective of several.
Professor of Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism
Lyndsey Struthers: How has Sept. 11, and the aftermath of the past five years changed your field?
Stuart Cottrell: The direct effect of Sept. 11 was immediate if you look at international or domestic travel. Airlines were shut down for five days. Places in the Middle East and Muslim and Islamic countries lost travelers. People are still selective in their travel destination. New York City is also receiving attention. There is a new trend in tourism called dark tourism where people go to the site of a catastrophic event to see the places and hear the stories and that is happening in New York City.
LS: How do you see your field evolving over the next five to 10 years, and will these changes be the result of Sept. 11?
SC: There are more conscientious travelers. It is much more stressful to get on a plane with the security measures that make it more challenging and difficult to travel. Volunteer tourism was a big thing in New York and continues to be at other disaster sites. These tourists may not see it as volunteer work, but they are taking their time and money to go and help out; it’s a life-changing experience.
LS: Do you think something like Sept. 11 will happen again?
SC: I sure hope not. Maybe at some small-scale level way, you can’t guard for everything. Those who want to create a disaster or make a statement can find a way. You can’t live in fear. People will continue to travel, and tourism will continue. Our way of life is misunderstood in other countries; we need to become more sophisticated in our behavior when traveling.
LS: In a world where globalization is growing, do you think terrorist attacks will continue or eventually end?
SC: Historically there have always been terrorists. Now our definition of terrorist activity is broader. There will always be conflict at different levels of scale that will occur because of misunderstandings and people wanting to make a statement about religion or other differences.
Staff writer Lyndsey Struthers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.