Volume 4 Issue 2 April 2006 Applied Research Note 3

Perceptions of International Travel Risk: An Exploratory Study of the Influence of Proximity to Terrorist Attack

by Hayley Sackett, & David Botterill

This study explored the influence of the ‘proximity’ (defined as an attack on homeland soil) of a terrorist attack upon the perceptions of international travel risk. Opportunity samples of US (n=39) and UK (n=59) citizens responded to a questionnaire that sought their opinions on international travel risk and the perceived safety of a set of vacation destinations. The study found that while ‘proximity’ to a terrorist attack may increase the general negative perceptions of the safety of international travel, when purpose of travel is for a vacation the influence of ‘proximity’ weakens. International vacation travel may therefore be particularly susceptible to the influences of a terrorist attack, wherever the attack occurs. Differences in perceptions of three vacation destinations (France, Spain and UK) between the US and UK respondents indicate that variables other than proximity to attacks influence perceptions of the safety of vacation destinations. Past experience of a destination and media coverage of the aftermath of terrorist acts may better explain some of the recorded differences surrounding the three vacation destinations.

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