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Total Tourism Survey

Travel industry faces increased violence and costs

REPORT – KUALA LUMPUR: The majority of respondents to the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Total Tourism Survey believe that terrorism…

REPORT – KUALA LUMPUR: The majority of respondents to the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Total Tourism Survey believe that terrorism and violence have increased, that governments should pay for the increased security costs, and that there is a widening gap between the Islamic and non-Islamic world.

The findings are being presented to the PATA Board of Directors meeting in Kuala Lumpur. The survey report entitled, Asia Pacific Travel and Tourism: The Industry Speaks will influence PATA`s 2006-2007 strategic agenda, which is being debated by the Board.

While almost three-quarters of respondents felt that there had been an increase in terrorism and violence across the globe, more than half (52.7%) were very strong in their perception.

Respondents from Africa and the Middle East, believed there had only been a slight increase in terrorism and violence compared to respondents in Asia and Pacific who felt more strongly that there had been a significant increase.

On the question of who should pay for the increased security, 61.6% felt that governments should pick up the tab to some degree, a sentiment echoed most strongly by respondents in Europe.

On the question of whether or not there appears to be a growing divide between the Muslim and non-Muslim world, 52% strongly agreed that there was a growing divide, while 8.9% disagreed.

Respondents from the Americas and Asia were slightly more in agreement with the statement than respondents from other parts of the world.

Two hundred and sixty four members of the global travel and tourism industry completed the PATA Total Tourism Survey between February and June this year. They responded to questions on all the issues directly or indirectly facing the travel industry, among them: peace negotiations, terrorism, a common Asian currency, bird flu, global warming, ageing populations, tourism as cultural protector or destroyer, the mass media`s coverage of crises, the impact of travel advisories, distribution technology, aviation, human resource challenges, domestic and regional tourism growth, and whether the industry is ready to handle a large volume of traffic from India and China (PRC).

Additional findings from the PATA Total Tourism Survey are as follows:

  • Almost two-thirds (65.2%) were very concerned about global warming and its impact on the travel sector
  • More than two-thirds (68.2%) saw the advent of low cost carriers as positive for the industry because budget flights increase the size of the travel market
  • Only 3.5% felt that government travel advisories were well-balanced while almost 60% felt that advisories were updated too slowly; middle-aged respondents were relatively more critical of the whole travel advisory process
  • Less than 10% of respondents (8.9%) felt strongly that there had been no increase in political and social uncertainty nor a growing divide between Muslims and non-Muslims when it came to factors such as destination choice selection, security screening and visa requirements.
  • On tsunami coverage, the clear majority of the survey respondents believed the tsunami reporting on TV, print, radio and Internet was appropriate, with only 18.6% feeling otherwise. However, only 21% of hoteliers said the coverage was balanced compared to 57.1% of respondents in the media category.
  • Respondents overwhelmingly (81%) felt that the travel industry was a force for peace and that regional cooperation was the best way to solve problems.

The survey took travel operators out of their comfort zones and asked them to think about wider politcal implications, said PATA Director-Strategic Intelligence Centre, Mr John Koldowski. Travel industry operators in Asia Pacific have spoken. They are concerned about a range of social, economic and political issues. PATA and others now need to respond by advocating policies that address those concerns.

PATA President and CEO Mr de Jong said PATA would encourage the industry to debate these new issues and the Association would address them in its strategic plan 2006-2007.

Commenting on the issue of cultural division, he said that the travel industry needed to play a larger role in the geo-political arena.

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