Terrorism is the number-one concern for British holidaymakers, while travel industry bosses say terror attacks have had the greatest impact on their business in the past year, reveals research released today (Monday 7 November) at World Travel Market London.
Of the British holidaymakers who went abroad this year, 38% said the threat of terrorism was a concern, with 9% admitting to being ‘extremely concerned’. On the plus side, 40% said they were not concerned at all – despite several high-profile terror attacks in the past year.
However, there is clear evidence that global terror incidents, such as the Nice Bastille Day massacre, the Istanbul Ataturk Airport attack and terror campaigns in Tunisia, have affected tourism. According to the World Travel Market 2016 Industry Report, 76% of key industry executives said terrorism has impacted their business in the past year.
Of these, one in three said terrorism had a ‘significant’ impact, while 43% said it had ‘some’ impact. Only 24% said terrorism had no impact at all.
Tunisia has seen tourism fall dramatically, while in Egypt, the current flight ban on British aircraft into winter-sun favourite Sharm el Sheikh, following the bombing of a Russian airliner, is affecting travel businesses as we move into the crucial winter 2016/17 season.
Leading executives say terrorism is having a far more negative impact on business than travel industry scares, with just 7% of industry execs saying company scares had a ‘significant’ impact, while 39% said they had ‘some’ impact on their business.
Despite high-profile cases of industrial action by air transport workers, service personnel in Greece, blockades at Calais and train strikes, fewer than half of industry executives (46%) said industrial action had impacted their business.
The refugee crisis has impacted 44% of travel businesses – with 11% saying it has had a significant impact; while 37% say health scares such as the Zika virus have affected their business.
Just over a quarter (28%) of consumers said the refugee crisis affected their decision on where to go on holiday; 23% were concerned about political instability; 22% were concerned about the Zika virus and other health scares; 20% were concerned about industrial action and 18% were concerned about natural disasters.
WTM London, Senior Director, Simon Press said: “When we looked at the findings last year we found four in 10 consumers couldn’t relax properly on holiday because of fears of an attack and 68% of company executives said they had evaluated or taken steps to improve security and resilience within their business as a result of terrorist attacks.
“Despite the high-profile attacks this year and the constant threat of terrorism, it’s reassuring to see that fears of terror attacks have not actually increased among holidaymakers, which shows that the industry’s moves have been successful in allaying people’s fears as much as possible.”
WTM London is the event where the travel and tourism industry conducts its business deals. Buyers from the WTM Buyers’ Club have a combined purchasing responsibility of $22.6 billion (£15.8bn) and sign deals at the event worth $3.6 billion (£2.5bn). The annual gathering of 50,000 senior travel industry professionals takes place at ExCeL – London from Monday 7 to Wednesday 9 November 2016.