There’s reason for airlines and the travel industry to be concerned about public attitudes to travel.
An on line poll on the Yahoo website in New Zealand on 24 July attracted over five thousand responses, and 72% said they were concerned to a greater or less extent about travel.
The poll asked if the respondent’s perceptions of airline travel had changed.
A third (32%) said they were concerned and another 40% said their perception had changed a little, “but it wouldn’t change anything.”
Only 27% said their perception had changed “not at all.”
On line polls are not reliable because they are not random or particularly scientific, but with enough votes they do capture something of the public mood.
The willingness to travel is related to desire for new experiences and also to the wealth of a country’s population; countries where travel is a habit and is affordable, travel a lot.
In Australia and New Zealand extensive “overseas experience” has been a rite of passage for young people for many generations.
But in the short term factors like crashes, weather disruptions, security scares and terrorist incidents have big impacts, and these can affect destinations in different ways.
Even regular travellers delay, cancel or divert from one destination to another. They change their mode of travel. When airlines are out of favour, cruise ships increase in popularity. Rail travel rises.
Bali has spent years recovering from the effects of the 2006 bombings, for example. While inbound tourism to the Ukraine is not high on the minds of the government in Kiev, or for the separatists in the east of the country, the impact on airlines of a perception that it is dangerous to fly anywhere in the world could be profound.