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Terror and Travel: American Travelers’ Confidence Revealed in Travel Leaders Group Survey

October 22, 2015 Statistics & Trends No Comments Email Email

While terrorism knows no bounds in the world today, findings from a new travel survey indicate concerns about terrorism aren’t stopping most travelers from seeing the world. Today, travel industry powerhouse Travel Leaders Group released results from its nationwide survey of travel agents related to two issues: “traveler confidence” and the impact, if any, that terrorist activities play in leisure travelers’ decisions and bookings.  Among all destinations, the “confidence gap” (i.e. the gap between traveler confidence and impact on actual bookings) is most favorable for Canada – a spread of just 3.5% between the 99.6% of Travel Leaders Group agents who say they’ve had no cancellations or delays for travel to that country, and the 96.1% who have indicated their clients are “not concerned at all” or only “a little concerned” about travel to Canada.

That is slightly better than the favorable confidence gap of 5.3% for the United States (93.2% have no or little concern; 98.5% have no cancellations or delays). Other global regions with favorable confidence gaps included New Zealand (8.7%), Australia (8.8%), South Pacific (9.2%) and Northern Europe (21.7%). Regions with the least favorable confidence gaps include the Middle East (61.8%), Asia(excluding India and Southeast Asia) (55.6%), Russia (47.4%) and Africa (45.1%).

In analyzing strictly the data on whether Travel Leaders Group agents reported “no cancellations or delays,” overall travel bookings held strong. The top global regions where agents reported “no cancellations or delays” in bookings were for Canada (99.6%), New Zealand (99.0%), Australia (98.8%), United States (98.5%), South Pacific (97.5%), Northern Europe (95.9%), South America (94.5%),Central America (94.1%), Southern Europe (93.9%), Western Europe (91.5%), Asia (excluding India and Southeast Asia) (91.1%), and Southeast Asia and India (both at 91.0%).

“Today’s news headlines and 24/7 media coverage provide so much information that often lead consumers to question whether or not they should travel. Thus the findings on the ‘confidence gap’ are gratifying, demonstrating that consumers ultimately employ rational thinking – along with counsel from their travel agent – when making key travel decisions,” stated Travel Leaders Group CEO Ninan Chacko, CTC. “First and foremost, safety is our top priority for our clients, and our travel agents provide the facts so travelers can make informed decisions for themselves about their travels. Our travel agents also recognize that each individual has a different comfort level with regard to travel – some truly intrepid consumers will travel to the ends of the earth for amazingly authentic experiences, others will opt for mainstream, popular destinations, and some feel most comfortable exploring our great nation.”

Chacko continued, “Interestingly, data from our survey reveals that while some clients may have a few concerns about even the most popular destinations, once the trip is booked, the vast majority of those clients follow through on their travel plans. But our interest doesn’t end until they’ve returned home safely.”

Key Findings:
Since September 11, 2001, there has been a “new normal” in travel for Americans. The threat of terrorism – however small or great – is ever-present.  To gain a better understanding of how this may or may not impact travelers’ decisions, Travel Leaders Group travel agents from across the country were asked:

  • “Have you had clients cancel trips or delay trips due to concerns over possible terror threats in the following destinations?”
  • How concerned are your clients with possible threats or acts of terrorism while traveling to the following destinations?”

No cancellations or delays

No concerns / only a little concerned

Confidence Gap

Canada

99.6%

96.1%

3.5%

United States

98.5%

93.2%

5.3%

Mexico

87.3%

50.5%

36.8%

Central America

94.1%

55.3%

38.8%

South America

94.5%

56.3%

38.2%

No cancellations or delays

No concerns / only a little concerned

Confidence Gap

Western Europe

91.5%

69.8%

21.7%

Eastern Europe

87.8%

55.0%

32.7%

Northern Europe

95.9%

74.2%

21.7%

Southern Europe

93.9%

69.7%

24.2%

Russia

84.1%

36.7%

47.4%

No cancellations or delays

No concerns / only a little concerned

Confidence Gap

Africa

81.7%

36.6%

45.1%

Asia

91.1%

35. 0%

55.6%

Australia

98.8%

90.0%

8.8%

India

91.0%

56.5%

34.5%

Middle East

74.0%

12.2%

61.8%

New Zealand

99.0%

90.3%

8.7%

South Pacific

(not Australia/NZ)

97.5%

88.3%

9.2%

Southeast Asia

91.0%

61.9%

29.1%

Europe Bookings:
Because of several terror attacks in Europe in 2015 and with ISIS threats targeting popular European countries, here is a look at overall bookings to Europe.

  • When asked, “Please compare your non-luxury travel Europe land-based bookings to this time last year,” 49.5% of Travel Leaders Group travel agents stated bookings were “higher,” 37.8% indicated bookings were on par with last year and 12.7% stated bookings to Europe were lower.
  • When asked, “Please compare your luxury travel Europe land-based bookings to this time last year,” 44.9% of Travel Leaders Group travel agents stated bookings were “higher,” 41.8% indicated bookings were on par with last year and 13.3% stated bookings to Europe were lower.

Timetable for Europe Travel:
When asked, “In general, what is the feeling among the majority of your clients regarding travel to Europe?” the response break down was …

(For the full results, please go here.)

This data on “traveler confidence” is based on responses from 1,087 U.S.-based travel agency owners, managers and frontline travel agents who indicated that 50% or more of their portfolio is made up of leisure travelers. These results are part of the larger 2015 Fall Travel Trends Survey conducted by Travel Leaders Group from August 3 – August 25, 2015, in which 1,152 travel agent experts from the flagship Travel Leaders brand, along with those affiliated with Travel Leaders Group’s Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International, Results! Travel, Travel Leaders Corporate, Tzell Travel Group and Vacation.com units.

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