Travel Leaders Group Studies How Terrorism Impacts Travel

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With terrorist attacks generating frequent headlines, Travel Leaders Group has released a new study on the "confidence gap" between traveler concerns about a destination and bookings and cancellations in that destination. 

“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,” said Travel Leaders Group CEO Ninan Chacko. “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.”

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 percent between the 99.6 percent of Travel Leaders Group agents who say they’ve had no cancellations or delays for travel to that country, and the 96.1 percent who have indicated their clients are “not concerned at all” or only “a little concerned” about travel to Canada.


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That is slightly better than the favorable confidence gap of 5.3 percent for the United States (93.2 percent have no or little concern; 98.5 percent 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%).  

Key Findings

As part of the survey 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%
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%
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 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 percent of Travel Leaders Group travel agents stated bookings were “higher,” 37.8 percent indicated bookings were on par with last year and 12.7 percent stated bookings to Europe were lower.

When asked, “Please compare your luxury travel Europe land-based bookings to this time last year,” 44.9 percent of Travel Leaders Group travel agents stated bookings were “higher,” 41.8 percent 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: 

My clients want/need to go to Europe right now 12.5%
My clients are going to Europe within the next 3 months 30.4%
My clients are planning to go to Europe in the next 6-9 months 20.8%
My clients are planning to go to Europe in the next 9-12 months 18.8%
My clients are planning to go to Europe in the next 12+ months 9.7%
My clients are holding off on planning a Europe trip 7.8%

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. 


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