Terrorism fears subside as travellers rank crime and health and medical issues as their greatest travelling threats

18 March, 2019

Only one in ten travellers have no concerns over travel safety for the year ahead, but terrorism is no longer seen as a primary concern, the findings of the latest Global Rescue 2019 Travel Safety Survey have found.

The annual update from the travel risk and crisis response provider of medical, security and intelligence found that compared to last year, 16% of travellers reported they are more concerned about travel safety in 2019, with most (82%), noting they are still as concerned as they were last year.

The survey, conducted across a three week period in Jan-2019 and Feb-2019, interviewed 900 current and former Global Rescue members aged 25 to 70 or older, with household incomes of USD35,000 to USD200,000 or more.

In total, 87% of travellers expressed some degree of concern for travel safety this year, up from 84% last year, but these concerns are not enough to stop people from travelling. Only six percent of respondents said concerns would have a significant impact on their travel. Nearly half (47%) reported their concerns would impact their plans “a little,” while 41% of respondents said their concerns will have no impact on their travel in 2019.

Much like last year, almost half (48%) of respondents said they will do more research when it comes to their travel safety concerns - less than a third (30%) will do nothing at all, while one in four (25%) at the other extreme will prepare themselves for a possible crisis.

One of the most significant survey findings and change over the past year is that terrorism is no longer a primary concern for travellers. This year, more than two thirds (69%) of respondents ranked crime atop their three greatest traveling threats, followed by health and medical issues (67%) and then terrorism (41%). In fact, less than one quarter (22%) of respondents ranked terrorism as their number one threat, down from 40% last year with a third (33%) ranking health and medical issues as their top concern.

In 2018, over one fifth (22%) of travellers said they would be willing to change destinations amid travel safety concerns, but this year that has fallen to around one in seven (14%) who reported they would change destinations entirely in 2019. While overall concerns won’t impact a majority of travellers, health and medical issues (29%) and safety and security concerns (28%) are the top two factors preventing people from traveling more.

Concerns over travel to Europe have also subsided, though. This year, more than half of respondents (54%) plan to travel to Europe, which comes after just under three quarters (74%) expressed at least some level of concern with travel to both Europe and the Middle East last year. The top four destinations in terms of concern this year are: Africa (87%), the Middle East (84%), South America (80%) and Asia (74%). Europe dipped significantly in the ranking with just two in three respondents (66%) reporting some concern.

Africa has the highest level of concern among travellers and that is on the increase in 2019. This year, the number of respondents either “concerned” or “very concerned” with travel to Africa increased to 56% up from 39% last year. In 2018, 17% of respondents reported they were “very concerned” with travel to Africa, a figure that has almost doubled to 30% in 2019.