Terrorism, Tourism and Orlando

The purpose of terrorism is to strike fear in a civilian population. If you're fearful of people on the street, if you're fearful of going out and resuming normal activities, to the extent that your lives are disrupted -- congratulations: You've let terrorists win.

Travelers should stand strong in support of Orlando, the LGBT community and Muslims. If Americans cower in their homes, behind their walls, behind hateful rhetoric, terrorism will win.

It saddens me to see the amount of people on social media suddenly fearful of travel -- whether to Orlando, or Paris, or to any metropolis. Of course, danger always exists. But if you let fear take away our freedom to travel and explore, they will win.

Just as we did after 9/11 in New York City and the November 2015 attacks in Paris, we must stand behind Orlando, and not let an act of terrorism destroy the heart and soul of the city, or their economic base.

As it stands, Orlando is one of the top tourist cities in the United States, attracting more than 57 million visitors annually. Tourism is the crux of the local economy. It supports hundreds of thousands of families and jobs -- around 20 percent of the population works in the tourism industry.

All Orlando attractions are on high alert. Naturally, this is scaring people off. According to Travel Pulse, "Allianz Travel Insurance is looking to help customers who have been impacted by the tragedy." Allianz says that customers may be eligible for coverage under its trip-cancellation benefits.

But it makes little sense to allow fallout from this senseless slaughter to crater the Orlando travel industry -- it makes no sense to allow terrorism to create a long-term economic impact.

Americans must show that terrorism cannot defeat us. We must stand in solidarity, and show that we will not be divided by fanatics who kill innocent civilians. We must put these attacks in perspective and not let the hysteria that follows them be used to manipulate our daily lives.

So, don't curtail your travel plans. Don't hide inside. Don't let them win.

Orlando needs us now, and so does America.

Blake Fleetwood blogs for CookTravel.net, a provider of discounted business travel. You can reach him at [email protected].