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Terrorism, turmoil, health hazards or active conflicts are considered the biggest deterrents to tourism while a 67 percent of travelers worry about Ebola as the number one infectious disease. Furthermore one in four travelers changed vacation plans in the past year due to global or local safety, security and health. Safety is the major concern for tourist and real time news and social media posting of incidents or situations have an impact on decision making and the choice around the desired destination.
The research aimed to gather consumer views and specific areas of concern that lead travelers 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.
Almost half (43 percent) of all participants in the survey say they have purchased travel insurance due to safety concerns and uncertainty, and a notable 80 percent say they are likely to consider buying emergency medical coverage for future travel. Reflecting growing anxiety levels, nearly three quarters (74 percent) expect to add trip cancellation insurance, nearly half (47 percent) will consider political or emergency evacuation policies, and 42 percent are thinking about coverage that provides accidental death benefits.
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 percent of travelers would like to visit ANZ, two countries which have a zero rate of travel concern or anxiety. This compares to 10 percent or less who want to visit North, Central or West Africa and the Middle East. Some 20 percent, however, said they were keen on visiting Southern Africa. With interest in distance and isolation, a few survey participants even named Antarctica, Iceland, Greenland and the Arctic as desirable destinations.
The top five reasons for avoiding travel to certain destinations include:
• Terrorist activity (77 percent)
• Military conflict or fighting (59 percent)
• Outbreak of disease or health risks (46 percent)
• High incidence of crime (25 percent)
• Political upheaval (25 percent)
Good examples of these issues are the Middle East and North Africa, where turmoil, terrorism, civic strife and refugee migration are unfortunately keeping popular destinations like Egypt, Turkey, Tunisia, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and other travel destinations in the news and at the top of the travel advisory lists of many affluent economies.
When it comes to the most trusted sources of travel planning relating to safety and security, government agencies and law enforcement alerts are relied upon by more than half (55 percent) of survey participants while 36 percent believe trusted information comes from news media and travel journalists for information. This is ahead of friends and family (34 percent), third-party crowd-sourced travel rating sites (25 percent), and social media networks (17 percent).
According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s Tourism Barometer, international tourist arrivals grew by 4.3 percent in the first eight months of 2015, fueled in particular by strong results in Europe, a region our survey respondents believe is one of the safest travel destinations. International tourists (overnight visitors) traveling the world between January and August 2015 reached 810 million—33 million more than during the same period of 2014.
In addition to the quantified study, the CMO Council also interviewed key travel industry leaders. These included senior travel and destination marketing officials at Kenya Airways, Turkish Culture and Tourism, Air Arabia, Malaysia Airlines, Sao Paulo Tourism, the German National Tourist Office, Israel Ministry of Tourism and others. More than 2,000 travelers (58 percent female) participated in the online research. The majority of respondents are over the age of 45. Fifty-five (55) percent are residents of the U.S. and Canada, 16 percent live in the United Kingdom, 23 percent reside in Germany, and the balance of respondents live in other European and APAC countries.
About the CMO Council
The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council is the only global network of executives specifically dedicated to high-level knowledge exchange, thought leadership and personal relationship building among senior corporate marketing leaders and brand decision-makers across a wide range of global industries. The CMO Council’s 9,000-plus members control more than $400 billion in aggregated annual marketing expenditures and run complex, distributed marketing and sales operations worldwide. In total, the CMO Council and its strategic interest communities include more than 35,000 global executives in more than 110 countries covering multiple industries, segments and markets. Regional chapters and advisory boards are active in the Americas, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East, India and Africa. The council’s strategic interest groups include the Coalition to Leverage and Optimize Sales Effectiveness (CLOSE), Mobile Relationship Marketing (MRM) Strategies, LoyaltyLeaders.org, CMOCIOAlign.org, Marketing Supply Chain Institute, Customer Experience Board, Digital Marketing Performance Institute, GeoBranding Center and the Forum to Advance the Mobile Experience (FAME). For more information, visit the CMO Council at www.cmocouncil.org.
About AIG Travel
AIG Travel Inc., a member of American International Group Inc., is a worldwide leader in travel insurance solutions and assistance. Travel Guard is the marketing name for its portfolio of travel insurance solutions and travel-related services, including assistance and security services, marketed to both leisure and business travelers around the globe. Services are provided through a network of wholly owned service centers located in Asia, Europe and the Americas. For additional information, please visit our websites at www.aig.com/travel and www.travelguard.com.
SOURCE CMO Council/PRNewswire