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Study reveals impact of terrorism on business traveller psyche

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More than two-thirds of business travellers believe travelling to areas perceived as ‘unsafe’ has a psychological effect on them or their families, according to a recent study.

The Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) teamed up with BBT’s sister publication Business Traveller, to carry out a study on the impact of terror attacks on business travellers and managers.

Key findings included:

  • 67 per cent of travellers said that there is a psychological effect on either them or their families when travelling to a region where they may not feel safe.
  • When asked who is most concerned about them when travelling, 77 per cent cited their family and friends, compared to just 16 per cent who named themselves.
  • 31 per cent of business travellers polled said they worry that showing reluctance to travel could hurt their career, while 6 per cent said they would not feel comfortable expressing their concerns to upper management.
  • 10 per cent of travellers said they feel ‘utterly fearless’ regarding terrorism, and 25 per cent have very little fear.
  • Based on mean scores, travellers fear robberies or muggings more than terrorism, and worry about a major medical health risk almost as much as a terror threat.
  • 33 per cent of travellers said they are becoming less sensitive about privacy as terrorism threats increase. This is a similar figure to travel management professionals – 35 per cent believe their travellers are becoming less sensitive.
  • When asked: ‘Is terrorism and unrest leading to changing duty-of-care concerns in your organization?’ – 44 per cent of travellers and 51 per cent of travel professionals said their organisations have made duty-of-care changes. But 23 per cent of travellers did not know the answer, which may indicate a need for better communication.

The study, in association with American Express GBT, polled 605 business travellers and 270 corporate travel professionals over a two-month period, prior to the attacks in Belgium.

“This study is the first to see the business traveller as less of a road warrior and more of an executive whose office just happens to be the world,” said ACTE executive director Greeley Koch. “These are people who balance their families and the challenges of life against meeting their corporate objectives.”

Business Traveller editor-in-chief Tom Otley said the study illustrated the necessity for a broader discussion on the anxieties caused by business travel overall. “While the business traveller’s resilience remains high in the face of terrorism fears, this does not indicate an absence of other cumulative effects,” he said. “For example, how does a traveller to a recently troubled area explain away the fears of her or his children?”

Download the full report, published in association with American Express GBT, here

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