HOW GLOBAL VOICES SHAPE TRAVEL CHOICES: THE IMPACT OF CONSUMER APPREHENSION ON TRAVEL INTENTION WHITE PAPER

A plethora of global incidents have made headlines this past year—including terrorist attacks, natural disasters, disease outbreaks, regional conflict, political upheaval, crime or civil unrest, airline tragedies and cruise line accidents and food safety issues—that have impacted travel plans, schedules and intentions. News coverage, social media postings and government warnings have often exacerbated or raised traveler concerns and worries, as well as influenced or helped change many travel plans and intentions around the world. In light of these incidents, the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council and its GeoBranding Center have teamed with a select group of media partners and travel communities to understand the degree to which safety, security and health concerns are influencing travel planning, mode of travel and destination selection.

The study—based on a survey of more than 2,000 global travel consumers—reveals that personal safety has become a major concern for tourists as real-time news channels multiply and social media postings bring first-hand accounts of incidents or situations that can very quickly make travelers nervous and inclined to change or re-think their travel plans. In addition, qualitiative interviews with leaders at major travel organizations—including Kenya Airways, Turkish Culture and Tourism, Air Arabia, Malaysia Airlines, São Paulo Tourism, the German National Tourist Office, Israel Ministry of Tourism and others—reveal the impact of digital media on consumer travel apprehension, as well as how destinations can combat negative media reports and help overcome travel concerns.

Given this scenario, the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council and its GeoBranding Center are teaming with a select group of media partners and travel communities to understand the degree to which safety, security and health concerns are influencing travel planning, mode of travel and destination selection. Key areas of exploration include:

  • To what degree have travel anxieties or apprehensions altered travel plans or intentions
  • What are the top reasons causing travelers to avoid certain destinations
  • What news or events contribute the most to travel avoidance and distress
  • Which parts of the world have the highest level of health, safety and security concerns
  • What infectious diseases or illnesses most worry travelers
  • What are the most trusted and reliable sources of information on safe travel
  • What level of interest is there in travel insurance and what types of coverage are most valued
  • Which travel destinations are considered the safest and which are considered the most risky
  • What factors are discouraging travel to certain emerging and lesser known destinations like Africa
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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.


PRESS RELEASES

December 2015 - Global anxiety audit highlights fears of travel to Africa and need for country destinations to provide compelling reasons to visit. - GeoBranding Center

December 2015 - Global travel anxiety audit finds island destinations safest, terrorism and turmoil biggest deterrents to tourism. - GeoBranding Center


MEDIA COVERAGE

January 2, 2016 - Travel 2016: Europe's Out, While Asia, Australia And South America Are In. - TheStreet

December 8, 2015 - Top five reasons for avoiding travel to certain destinations. - Cheese Traveler

December 8, 2015 - Inside Africa's tourism crisis. - Rand Daily Mail

December 7, 2015 - Travel Market Report: Global Anxiety Study Shows How Travelers Think. - Travel Market Report

December 7, 2015 - What Can The Travel Industry Do To Fight 'Travel Anxiety’? - Travel Pulse

December 7, 2015 - Africa tourism industry slams US travel alerts. - FIN24

December 7, 2015 - Study Says One in Four Travelers Change Plans Due to Terrorism Concerns. - Caribbean News Digital

December 2015 - South Africa's premier talk radio stations Radio 702 and Cape Talk. - Prime Time John Robbie Show

December 9, 2015 - December 2015 - Africa Furious Over US Travel Warning. - Financial Tribune

December 8, 2015 - Africa’s Struggling Tourism Industry Slams Obama Administration. - SOMA

December 8, 2015 - Terrorism the biggest fear for global travellers. - Travel Daily Media

December 7, 2015 - Australia & NZ deemed safest amongst travellers. - KarryOn Travel Industry News

December 7, 2015 - December 2015 - ‘Worldwide’ Travel Alert Update: Africa’s Struggling Tourism Industry Slams - TUTOZ News

December 7, 2015 - Terrorism stirs up global travel angst. - Travel Weekly

December 7, 2015 - How Global Voices Shape Travel Choices. - FIN24

December 7, 2015 - 'Worldwide' Travel Alert Update: Africa's Struggling Tourism Industry Slams Obama Administration. - International Business Times

December 7, 2015 - NZ seen as safe destination in a world of turmoil. - Inside Tourism

December 7, 2015 - Global Travel Anxiety Audit Finds Island Destinations Safest, Terrorism And Turmoil Biggest Deterrents To Tourism. - Insurance News

December 7, 2015 - Study Says One in Four Travelers Change Plans Due to Terrorism Concerns. - Travel Agent Central

December 7, 2015 - Terrorism, turmoil and tourism. - Travel Industry Today

December 9, 2015 - Terrorism And Turmoil Biggest Deterrents To Tourism. - Hotel News

December 9, 2015 - Global travel anxiety finds island destinations safest, terrorism and turmoil biggest deterrents to tourism. - TravelDailyNews


FACTS & STATS

Tourism plummeted in Egypt in 2011 following the Arab Spring, with visitation dropping more than 33 percent. Tourism has rebounded over the past few years, though, with several river cruise companies putting Nile River itineraries back on their schedules. - Independent Traveler

Tourists are starting to worry about Greece's economic crisis—a sign that the country's tourism industry, which accounts for nearly 20 percent of GDP, could experience a slowdown if the financial situation worsens. - CNBC.com

With an expected 25 million visitors this year set to contribute up to a quarter of Greece's income in 2015, the country wants to reassure them that their vacations are safe. - CNN

According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, last year tourism contributed 11 percent to Kenya’s GDP and over 9 percent to South Africa’s. Because the slipping oil and mineral prices have pulled down prospects for Africa’s major export revenue earners, the slackening in tourism numbers could unleash a deadly blow to economic growth in these countries. - Diaspora Community

Some 56 million tourists visited Africa in 2014, a 2% rise from the previous year, according to UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) figures, but growth in Africa lagged behind that in Europe, Asia or the Americas. - BizNews

Almost 24,000 people have been infected with the Ebola virus since December 2013, almost all in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, and 9,807 of them have died, according to the WHO. The countries at the centre of the Ebola epidemic are forecast to lose 12 percent of their combined gross domestic product this year, according to World Bank estimates. - BizNews

From 2008 to 2014, North America showed a stunning 600-percent increase in cases of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles, whooping cough and mumps, while the rest of the world saw a 57-percent decrease. - Forbes

In an annual annual survey that asks respondents to identify the region posing the greatest risk to travelers and expatriates, found that the Middle East/North Africa is the most troubling region, with 46 percent of respondents listing it as their top concern. It was followed closely by Latin America at 25 percent and Sub-Saharan Africa at 15 percent. Rounding out the concern was Asia at 10 percent and Europe at 4 percent. - Forbes

In a survey that asked respondents to identify security issues that would impact their travel, 19 percent cited civil unrest, and 20 percent cited terrorism as the top security concern for travellers. In order, the remaining risks included opportunistic crime (15 percent), kidnap and ransom (12 percent), petty theft (11 percent), natural disasters (10 percent) and road accidents (11 percent). - Forbes


NEWS & ARTICLES

November 2015 - Africa's Private Sector Needs to Drive Response to Tourism Decline Over Destination Safety Fears - GeoBranding Center

November 2015 - Tunisia Declares State of Emergency After Bus Explosion Kills 12 - The Globe and Mail

November 2015 - Apparent Suicide Attack on Tunisian Presidential Guard Bus Kills 12 - Reuters

November 2015 - U.S. Issues Worldwide Travel Alert Over Terror Threats - BBC News

October 2015 - Overview of Recent Global Plane Accidents - PlaneCrashInfo.com

August 2015 - Where Not to Go in the Middle East - Independent Traveler

August 2015 - Five Reasons Why Chinese Outbound Tourism Will Continue To Grow Even In Times Of Crisis - Forbes

July 2015 - Greek crisis intensifies: Tourists begin to worry - CNBC.com

June 2015 - How Terrorism Attacks Affect Tourism - BBC News

June 2015 - Tunisia tourism industry faces tough period as thousands leave after attack - The Guardian

June 2015 - Is it time to cancel your Greek vacation? - CNN

May 2015 - Ebola, terror attacks and xenophobia batter Africa’s tourism industry - Diaspora Community

May 2015 - Narcoviolence In Jalisco, Home To Largest Group Of Americans In Mexico, A "Serious Concern" - Forbes

March 2015 - Ebola–African tourism travels the road back from the virus stigma - BizNews

February 2015 - Concerns Over Safety of Air Travel in Asia - New York Times

February 2015 - Anti-Vaxxers Are Spreading Concern - Forbes

January 2015 - The terrorist attacks, a problem for the tourism industry in France? - TourMag

January 2015 - Survey Highlights New Concerns For International Travelers - Forbes

July 2014 - Travelers reassess plans amid Mideast conflict - CNN


STUDIES & WHITE PAPERS

November 2015 - 2015 Global Terrorism Report - Vision of Humanity

2014 - The Effects of Terrorism on the Travel and Tourism Industry - International Journal of Religious Tourism and Pilgrimmage