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Business travellers rate how safe travel feels

Survey respondents rated the safety of 16 destinations ranging from domestic to international and developed to developing


March 22, 2017
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Alexandria, VA—Business travellers view terrorism as the greatest safety risk they face on the road, according to a new study released today by the GBTA Foundation, the research and education arm of the Global Business Travel Association.

Almost half (45 percent) rank it as their greatest concern when travelling for business, much higher than the share indicating street crime (15 percent), illness/disease outbreaks/sanitation (13 percent), property crime/theft (12 percent), kidnapping (8 percent) or natural disasters (6 percent).

A decent share of respondents are wary about business travel in the emerging world as seven out of the 10 emerging market destinations measured “unsafe” or “not safe at all” by at least one-quarter of U.S.-based respondents. Business travellers generally feel developed cities in North America and Western Europe are safe for business travel as all of the mature markets tested are viewed as at least “somewhat safe” by more than eight in ten U.S.-based business travelers. However, at the same time, the share who only rate these same destinations as “somewhat safe” – rather than “safe” or “very safe” is relatively high, exceeding 20 percent for each destination. This could reflect the fairly common view in today’s world that any destination can be high-risk.

Survey respondents were asked to rate the safety of 16 specific destinations for business travel ranging from domestic to international and developed to developing.

Business travellers not only view terrorism as a safety threat they face on the road, but also agree it has an impact on the business travel industry more broadly and can change the frequency or ways in which people travel. When rating this impact on a 10-point scale, business travelers give terrorism an average rating of 7.6 with 60 percent rating it an eight or higher. This implies that terrorism is more impactful than disease outbreaks, corporate budget cuts or the effects of the global economy.

While one-third (37 percent) of business travellers feel safe when they travel regardless of destination, more than half (52 percent) feel safer when travelling domestically compared to internationally. Baby Boomers are most likely to feel safe when they travel both domestically and internationally.

In the past year, 30 percent of business travellers have travelled for work to a destination they or their organization consider to be high-risk. Millennials (37 percent) are more likely to have traveled to such a destination, compared to Gen-X travelers (27 percent) or Baby Boomers (25 percent).

When it comes to attitudes about high-risk travel, more than half (57 percent) of business travelers feel that nowadays any destination could be high-risk. Baby Boomers are least likely to hold this view. In addition, almost half (48 percent) of business travellers agree they would avoid traveling to certain high risk destinations even if it hurts their career, compared to 31 percent who disagree. Younger travellers are more likely to worry if they did not travel to high-risk destinations, it would reflect poorly on their career.