Map of Eastern Europe. (photo via iStock/Getty Images Plus/fstop123)
As Russia’s unlawful and unrelenting war against the sovereign Eastern European nation of Ukraine rages on, the resulting ripple effect for the global travel industry also continues to grow.
According to the results of the ‘Spring 2022 Traveler Safety and Sentiment Survey’ compiled by Global Rescue, a leading provider of medical, security, evacuation and travel risk management services, travelers who’d planned on visiting Europe, especially countries in the eastern part of the Continent, are noted to be postponing or canceling their excursions.
Bear in mind that the majority of all of the world’s international trip-takers (89 percent) aren’t altering their travel plans because of the ongoing disaster in Ukraine. But, 42 percent of survey respondents said they’d canceled or postponed a trip to Russia, Ukraine or other Eastern European countries. Another one-third (36 percent) of participants also said the war caused them to cancel or postpone their travels to other European destinations.
“War makes adjacent regions unpredictable and potentially more dangerous, and understandably drives travelers to global destinations with no threat of conflict. These conditions also increase demand for extra travel protection services,” said Dan Richards, CEO of Global Rescue, and a U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board member at the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Global Rescue had already reported witnessing a surge in traveler requests for non-medical security and evacuation services since Russia first invaded its neighbor in late February. Forty-three percent of those polled said that, due to the war in Ukraine, they are more/much more likely to purchase travel security policies that provide advisory or evacuation services in case they find themselves in danger while abroad, due to hazards like insurgent attacks, civil unrest or unforeseen natural disasters.
While, clearly, a substantial portion of world travelers are changing their plans because of the violence in Eastern Europe, an almost equal percentage (37 percent) with plans to visit Europe said they had not canceled or postponed.
“Traveler concerns are split about going abroad. Nearly half (43 percent) of travelers say they are somewhat concerned about international travel, but 28 percent are not concerned at all while the same percentage are much more concerned,” Richards said.
Richards explained that, once travelers are actually overseas, military conflict in the region is among the least of their concerns, with 39 percent saying that an accident, injury or illness (not COVID-19) is their biggest non-COVID-related fear about traveling internationally.
The breakdown of respondents’ remaining worries about going overseas is as follows: trip cancellation (22 percent), civil unrest and terrorism (16 percent), war (eight percent), being robbed (seven percent), natural disaster (three percent) and identity theft (two percent).