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Traveler fears are dwindling at the same time many are hoping to plan trips to countries currently listed by the U.S. Department of State as Level 3 - Reconsider Travel. As the travel rebound continues, traveler worries are shifting dramatically and their appetite for exploring the world is increasing.
Before the pandemic, people were more content with traditional tourist attractions. Cruising the canals of Venice in a gondola, skiing in the Rockies or the Alps, or even soaking up the sun on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, historically were go-to vacation activities. Now, tourists have a growing enthusiasm for places beyond the traditional, some of which are less accessible and a little more risky.
Among the list of 20 countries with a “Level 3 – Reconsider Travel” advisory, Egypt, Colombia, China and Hong Kong are the top four destinations survey respondents want to visit. Nigeria, El Salvador, Cote d'Ivoire and Niger were the least desirous places, according to Global Rescue’s Traveler Sentiment and Safety Survey.
Travelers are planning multiple trips in 2023. Half of travelers surveyed are planning four or more trips this year, and they’re using credit card reward points to help pay for them. Nearly half (41%) said they would take two-to-three vacations. Only seven percent said they would take a single leisure trip in 2023.
As travelers catch up on lost trip opportunities due to the pandemic the demand for adventure tourism has shot up with African safaris, hiking trips, camping excursions and motorcycle tours experiencing the fastest growth.
Travelers are demonstrating a growing desire for authentic experiences in an increasingly globalized and connected world. While pent-up demand is playing a role in the adventure travel boom, we don’t expect to see it subside anytime soon.
But, there’s a limit to the risks travelers are willing to take, according to the survey.
The overwhelming majority of respondents (75%) would decline space tourism, even if they could afford the half-a-million-dollar cost for a few minutes of weightlessness. When it comes to undersea adventure tourism, 65% of respondents said they would take part in snorkeling or scuba diving tours of reefs, underwater caves, marine life and shipwrecks. Only five percent would stay at an undersea hotel or dine at an underwater restaurant. Less than 2% would sign up for a deep-sea tour in a submarine.
Loud, rude conduct and disrespectful or entitled behavior by tourists while visiting another country are the leading characteristics that infuriate travelers, according to the survey.
The worst tourist conduct observed by other global travelers was being too loud (27%). In close second place, 26% of respondents reported that travelers’ unwillingness to try local cuisine or follow local social customs was the most infuriating behavior. The third most disappointing trait (18%) was the expectation that destination residents speak the same language as the traveler. Fewer than 10% of respondents said tourists who wear revealing, offensive or shabby clothing were the most exasperating.
Respecting local culture and customs is crucial while traveling to another country. Locals may find it insulting and offensive when tourists act disrespectfully. Travelers should conduct research to learn about and comprehend the local customs and culture before they arrive.
Looking and acting like a tourist can produce assumptions that you are inexperienced, naive, lacking cultural awareness, and wealthy. Crooks that recognize you as a foreigner are more likely to choose you for scams and other forms of criminal activity. By blending in, you lessen the chance that local scammers or delinquents identify you as a tourist and target you for their schemes.
Despite the travel rebound and the end of the COVID crisis, the threat of another pandemic remains, especially with The World Health Organization identifying Eris as an expanding Omicron sub-variant of interest.
Some may believe there’s no need to spend money to protect against a new potential pandemic, but they’re wrong. It’s not a matter of if but when a new pandemic will emerge, and we have the means to prevent it, provided the international community has the will.
Most survey respondents (60%) agree and want international governments to invest in and develop pathogen scanners that can be deployed in transportation hubs like airports and railway terminals.
Dan Richards is CEO of The Global Rescue Companies, the world’s leading provider of medical, security, evacuation and travel risk management services. He currently serves on the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board at the U.S. Department of Commerce.
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