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False missile alarm in Hawaii drops tourist security perception

Visitors to the archipelago took 10 days to recover the feeling of security previous to the panic caused by the erroneous message from the emergency center. 

There was no missile, but panic over a possible imminent bombing harmed Hawaii’s tourist image. The alarm over a ballistic missile launched by North Korea, issued on 13th January from Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency headquarters, in Honolulu, caused a drastic fall in the tourist security perception, according to data collected by Mabrian® in its Perceived Security index (PSi).

 The official denial of Kim Jong-un’s alleged attack on one of the Pacific Islands came 38 minutes after the initial message. 24 hours later, the US president, Donald Trump, publicly qualified the alarm as an error.

In tourist terms, the Korean ballistic missile’s false alarm over Hawaii caused a fall of the tourist security perception in the destination on the 13th, reaching rock-bottom during the days after the alert. It wasn’t until 10 days later that the PSi recovered, rising to the same values as the days before the alarm.

Out of all the most important tourist markets for the archipelago, the Canadian market was the most sensitive to this incident, reaching a perceived security index score of 0/100.

The reaction from US tourists was also immediate, with a reduced PSi of 2/100, although the rhythm of confidence recovery was faster than the Canadians’, as reflected in the PSi evolution graph.

In the final analysis from January 2018, the PSi reached 77.9 points, in comparison to 93.69 points/100 during the same period in the previous year. There was also an increase in the volume of tourist mentions during those days, that reached 18,400 mentions/day, with an average of 11,000 mentions/day. In total, over 147 million mentions about Hawaii have been analysed for this study, for the month of January.

This information can help destination tourist and business managers to better channel the communication after an event of these characteristics, and recover security or climate perception as soon as possible.

Mabrian®’s  Travel Intelligence platform allows users to identify and measure in real time the impact of security or climate events, among other indicators by analysing Big Data. The monitoring of users’ reactions and the analysis of their comments on networks through Natural Language Processing (NLP) technologies, shows how a specific event can affect the security perception of visitors or potential visitors, and allows to compare the different recovery trends depending on the origin markets.