MMGY

Safety is top of mind for an increasing number of U.S. travelers, according to a new survey conducted by MMGY Global.

Almost nine out of ten (88 percent) of those surveyed in MMGY’s travelhorizons study said that destinations they thought of as safer were more desirable choices. That number is up from 85 percent in the previous travelhorizons study.

The survey also linked that concern with safety to a drop in interest in international travel. Out of the 28 percent of survey respondents who said they were less interested in traveling abroad, the top reason cited (by 36 percent) was that they would feel less safe in international destinations. A significant number (29 percent)  said that they would simply prefer to visit more U.S. destinations.

The appeal of safety is greater for older travelers, though all groups thought it was important. While 85 percent of Millennials said safety was an important factor, that number jumps to 89 percent for Gen Xers and 91 percent for Boomers.

For those who were planning to cut back on their travels in general, safety was far from the only concern. Household budget concerns were cited by more than three out of 10 respondents (32 percent).  The hassles of airport security took their toll as well, with 11 percent of respondents citing them as a deterrent to traveling, up from four percent last year. 

The study found that traveler sentiment has held steady from last year. MMGY’s Traveler Sentiment Index, which measures such factors as interest in travel, time available for travel, perceived affordability and quality of service, stands at 115, down just one point from last year.

Millennials topped the survey's list both in terms of how many of them traveled for leisure (79 percent) and in how many trips they took. On average, Millennials took 3.2 trips during the last 12 months, significantly higher than the number for Gen Xers (2.6 trips), Young Boomers (2.0) or Older Boomers (1.8).

Not surprisingly, household income also played a large role in determining who traveled and who didn't. 89 percent of those with household incomes of $100,000 or more had traveled for leisure during the past 12 months—a figure that dropped to 77 percent for those with household incomes between $50,000 and $100,000.