PHOTO: Cherry blossoms and the Jefferson Memorial, Washington DC. (photo via Flickr/Ron Cogswell)
Business travelers overwhelmingly feel safest when traveling to Washington D.C. and Los Angeles, according to a new study released by the GBTA Foundation, the research and education arm of the Global Business Travel Association.
The study asked respondents to rate 16 destinations around the world as to how safe they were for business travelers. At the top of the list was Washington D.C., which 73 percent said was “safe” or “very safe.” Rounding out the top five were Los Angeles (72 percent), London (70 percent), New York (66 percent) and Munich (56 percent.)”
Although cities in North America and Western Europe were considered safest for business travel, at least 20 percent of respondents only ranked those cities “somewhat safe,” which the GBTA said could be a testament to the general unease in world travel.
The numbers “could reflect the fairly common view in today’s world that any destination can be high-risk,” said the GBTA in a statement.
When asked to rate cities as “unsafe” or “not safe at all,” Turkey took the highest slot with 53 percent having an unfavorable view of business travel to the nation. Also in the top three were Mexico (42 percent) and Lagos (37 percent.)
In general, business travelers tend to be most concerned about business travel in emerging markets, with seven out of the 10 emerging market destinations measured “unsafe” or “not safe at all” by at least 25 percent of American respondents.
More than half (52 percent) of respondents said they feel safer when traveling domestically as opposed to internationally, while one-third (37 percent) said they feel safe regardless of destination. Baby Boomers were most likely to fall into the latter category.
The survey, which also asked participants to indicate the greatest safety risk they face on the road, found that terrorism was overwhelmingly cited as the greatest safety risk for business travelers. Some 45 percent of respondents said it as their top concern, followed by street crime (15 percent), illness/disease outbreaks/sanitation (13 percent), property crime/theft (12 percent), kidnapping (8 percent) or natural disasters (6 percent).
Business travelers also said that terrorism has the biggest impact on the industry. On a 10-point scale, where 10 means “having a lot of impact,” business travelers rated terrorism as a 7.6.
The survey also asked how many travelers had to visit a “high-risk” destination for work and found millennials (37 percent) were most likely to have traveled to a destination they consider high risk, as opposed to Gen-X travelers (27 percent) and Baby Boomers (25 percent). More than half (57 percent) of respondents said that nowadays any destination could be considered high risk.