World Worries Having Global Effect On Travel

CNN Money reports on destinations that usually garner tremendous attention from prospective travellers. Thanks to disease, terrorism and other troubling current events, these places are experiencing a remarkable downturn in visits.

The report mined various recent studies on travel trends throughout the industry and spotted some alarming rates.

It also quotes Patrick Surry, who is a chief data scientist at Hopper. He explains: “People are worried that the big, wide world is not as safe anymore. People are choosing to stay closer to home.”

 More impacting travel

Here are some normally popular destinations and how they fared in 2016, via CNN Money:

France: An iconic bucket-list location, this nation has seen numerous terrorist incidents during the past few years; its tourism visits plummet by four percent.

London: The report cites a study from the Travel Leaders Group that found more Americans are now afraid of travelling to this eclectic, vibrant capital city. Whether this is due to Brexit or recent terrorism, the report states: “27 percent of American respondents are reluctant to fly to the city in the near future.”

Middle East: The region is rich in culture and world history, but it also suffered a four percent downturn in visits across various countries, likely due to political instability.

The United States: Entry into this country from foreign visitors has plummeted, perhaps because of increasing nationalism along with immigration and visitation restrictions. CNN Money explains this could amount to as much as seven percent fewer visits than the previous year.

South Korea: The report notes a U.S. built missile defense system has garnered negative attention from the Chinese government. Its admonishment extends to advising nationals not to travel to the nearby country, amounting to a 40 percent drop in Chinese visits throughout April.

Of course, it’s not that people around the world have suddenly lost the will to see lovely locations. The reason for such a bleak tourism outlook, according to the report, is thanks to current events and a news cycle that is downright dreary.  It seems like every day there is another event that would deter otherwise enthusiastic travellers.

France has been beset by awful terror attacks, airline strikes and rail closures. It also doesn’t help that it received a public blast from President Donald Trump who used recent terror incidents to make a point about safety. An Allianz Global Assistance study conducted in November discovered a 12.8 percent increase in those Americans who said they would no longer consider Paris as a destination.

London has also endured tragedy, most recently in the form of a March attack that left three victims dead along with dozens more injured.

At the time, travel agent Margie Lenau explained to TravelPulse: “I have not booked a vacation to London in a while, although Europe is not out of the question nor is Ireland. My clients tend to want to stay away from London and wait and see what will happen.”

Then there is the ongoing fear of Zika that has seen some reconsider travel to Latin America.

CNN Money quotes Lisa Sheldon, executive director at the Destination Wedding & Honeymoon Specialists Association: “Last year was definitely a bad year for this market because we had a lot of cancellations. It’s still a concern for some couples.”

There is hope on the horizon. Paris, for example, saw a definite improvement in hotel reservations to close out 2016. And, back in March, Trafalgar President Paul Wiseman stated the following on London’s prospects: “The sentiment of strength in the face of adversity is absolute and we have had no negative reaction whatsoever from our agents, from our customers booked to travel or our customers in the UK at this time. We have had fantastic positive booking days all of this week and from what we can see there has been zero impact for Britain which I have relayed to the Visit Britain office in New York today.”

When it comes to Zika, a February report explains that tourism to affected regions has picked up as fear of the virus has waned.

In this case, some believe it’s important to remain careful with travel plans. Dr. Kristy Murray of the Texas Children’s Hospital’s Laboratory for Viral and Zoonotic Diseases explained at the time: “If anyone is pregnant or planning to become pregnant, then it is wise to discourage travel to areas where Zika is currently being transmitted, particularly southern Texas and Florida, Mexico into Central America, South America, and the Caribbean.”

As for travel into the United States, it may be some time before any guests are wooed back into its borders. Recent reports state President Trump’s policies and rhetoric are having a tremendous effect and may amount to an $18 billion decrease in spending.

There are bright spots, however. Spain, Mexico and Iceland are just some of the noted places that are having something of a moment, seeing increases in visits as they represent desirable alternatives during turbulent times worldwide.
Source: http://www.travelpulse.com/, 01 May 2017

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