Terrorism and turmoil are biggest deterrents to travel

New survey by AIG Travel – ‘How global voices shape travel choices’ reports on data from 2,000 American, European and other global travellers worldwide. Highlights consumer views and specific areas of concern that lead travellers to alter their plans, intentions or destination picks

A new survey by AIG Travel means that medical tourism will finally have to admit that global strife does affect where people go.

What worries travellers the most amidst the never-ending diet of news and first-person social media accounts of conflict, upheaval and health risks around the world?

One in four travellers has changed plans in the past year due to global or local safety, security or health concerns—and terrorism activity tops the list of reasons tourists will avoid travel to certain destinations. Ebola has become the number-one infectious disease that travellers worry about, according to 67 % of travellers.

These findings are part of a new study undertaken by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council and AIG Travel. Data for the report ‘How global voices shape travel choices’ was collected from more than 2,000 American, European and other global travellers worldwide during October 2015 via an online survey.

The research aimed to gather consumer views and specific areas of concern that lead travellers to alter their plans, intentions or destination picks. Among these events and incidents are terrorist attacks, natural disasters, disease outbreaks, regional conflicts, political upheaval, crime and violence, civil unrest, plane crashes, and cruise line accidents or food safety issues.

Personal safety has become a major concern as real-time news channels multiply and social media postings bring first-hand accounts of incidents or situations to travellers, impacting decision-making around desired destinations.

60 % report that turmoil, health hazards or active conflicts could sway or even deter their travel to a specific country or region.

Topping the list of the most desirable and safe destinations are Australia and New Zealand, as well as islands in the Pacific and Western Europe. More than 62% of travellers would like to visit ANZ, two countries which have a zero rate of travel concern or anxiety. This compares to 10% or less who want to visit North, Central or West Africa and the Middle East. 20% are keen on visiting Southern Africa.

The top five reasons for avoiding travel to certain destinations include:

  • Terrorist activity 77%
  • Military conflict or fighting 59%
  • Outbreak of disease or health risks 46%
  • High incidence of crime 25%
  • Political upheaval 25%

Good examples of these issues are the Middle East and North Africa, where turmoil, terrorism, civic strife and refugee migration are reducing numbers to once popular destinations Egypt, Turkey, Tunisia, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia.