Although the probability that they will impact one's trip is extremely low, the number of travelers concerned about terrorism, war, and disease is extremely high, according to a new study conducted by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council's GeoBranding Center in partnership with AIG Travel.
Titled "How Global Voices Shape Travel Choices: The Impact of Consumer Apprehension on Travel Intention
," the study is based on a survey of more than 2,000 American, European, and other worldwide travelers, who said the following concerns have caused them to alter their travel plans, intentions, or destination choices:
• 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)
More than 60 percent of travelers say turmoil, health hazards, or active conflicts could sway or even deter their travel to a specific country or region, and almost half (43 percent) say they have purchased travel insurance due to safety concerns and uncertainty. 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.
"In line with the findings from this study, we've received many questions recently about the role of travel insurance amid the perception of increased risk to personal safety while traveling," said Jeff Rutledge, CEO of AIG Travel. "In truth, travel insurance is as crucial today as it was last month or last year. The risk of unforeseen events has always been a travel reality, and insurance helps travelers prepare for this risk, providing assurance that assistance will be available if their trip doesn't go according to plan."
Given travelers' concerns, the CMO Council and AIG Travel asked travelers which destinations they deem safest and most desirable. Topping the list 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 the former. By comparison, 10 percent or less want to visit North, Central, or West Africa and the Middle East.