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.