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It has now been some time since a major terror attack has occurred in a North American or European city, but business travelers are still concerned about the specter of violence that hangs over a potential international trip.
A new report from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) based on a survey of U.S. business travelers found that terrorism is the most pressing concern by a wide margin.
The new Risk on the Road: Safety and Security Concerns Lead to Traveler Behavior Change report polled 798 U.S. travelers who were employed, traveled for business at least four times in in the past year, and had traveled to an international destination for business at least once in the past year.
Terrorism was rated as the most important safety risk, with 45 percent of respondents saying terrorism is their greatest concern. Street crime (15 percent) and illness (13 percent) were the other top concerns.
“We often talk about the resiliency of the business travel industry in the face of terror threats, economic uncertainty, political unrest and other factors,” said GBTA Executive Director and chief operating officer Michael W. McCormick. “Keeping travelers safe on the road is a prime responsibility for travel professionals. Understanding the road warriors’ fears and anxieties about business travel as well as communicating the available risk protocols and assistance services, can go a long way in building an effective risk management program.”
There are a few other interesting findings in the report, namely that more than half of those polled feel safer when traveling domestically for business than when they travel internationally.
Recent terror attacks have led business travelers to rethinking their lodging accommodations, with 41 percent now trying to stay at only approved hotels and 40 percent looking for specific security measures at potential hotels.
The report also delves into which destinations are considered safest and the most unsafe. Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and London were rated the safest while Turkey, Mexico, and Lagos were ranked most unsafe. Seven out of 10 emerging market destinations mentioned in the survey were considered unsafe.
It looks like companies are doing a good job supporting their workers when visiting a high-risk destination. Of those polled, 91 percent agreed or strongly agreed that their organization cares about their safety when they travel for work; 30 percent said they had visited a high-risk destination in the last year.