Survey: Traveler Concerns About Civil Unrest Rise

Traveler fears of COVID continue to plummet while concerns over civil unrest increase. The Global Rescue "Winter 2023 Traveler Safety and Sentiment Survey" revealed the greatest anxiety among the world’s most experienced travelers about international travel is having an injury or illness unrelated to COVID. The survey further uncovered a major shift in traveler worries about civil unrest and terrorism in international destinations. 

Since August 2022, apprehension about COVID dramatically dropped at a rate of 61 percent, down to 13 percent compared to 33 percent in late summer, according to the results of the quarterly surveys. While COVID fears continue to plunge, other traveler reservations are rising. Traveler concerns about civil unrest and terrorism nearly doubled in the last six months, jumping to 14 percent in the latest survey from 8 percent in late summer 2022. 

Today, more than one-third of travelers (37 percent) said their biggest fear is suffering a non-COVID illness or injury, followed by civil unrest (14 percent), trip cancelation (12 percent), being robbed (4 percent), natural disasters (3 percent) and nuclear attack (less than 1 percent).   

When it comes to traveling internationally, there are other concerns travelers have that, while less severe than illness or injury, are nevertheless worrisome—especially as travel returns to pre-pandemic levels but staffing shortages within the travel industry persist. Nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of survey respondents said hotel and lodging safety was most important, while 10 percent worry about car service and taxi safety. Some want to know if the destination is safe for families (15 percent) or women (11 percent) to travel. Ten percent want to know if they’ll need physical protection. Identity theft and cyber security remain important concerns with 9 percent of respondents. Less than 3 percent worry about automobile rental safety or environmental safety. 

“Traveler confidence is skyrocketing and they are mitigating their worries by safeguarding their trips and safety with more protections,” said Dan Richards, CEO of Global Rescue. “Whether it’s flight disruptions, war, natural disaster or a pandemic, the new normal for travelers includes travel protection for emergency medical services and evacuation. Travel protection services are no longer a take-it-or-leave-it option. We are forecasting significant increases in demand for travel protection services."

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