VIRTUOSO® FLASH POLL FINDS TRAVEL DISRUPTIONS OCCURRING AS A RESULT OF VUCA
A new survey by international travel agency network Virtuoso has found travellers are avoiding certain worldwide destinations as a result of the uncertainty tied to specific countries and global regions. Virtuoso was one of the first travel organisations to introduce the term VUCA, which stands for volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous, as a means of describing the potential travel disruptions caused by geopolitical situations.
"The world is going through a transition where uncertainty is the new norm," says Matthew D. Upchurch, Chairman and CEO of Virtuoso. "Whether it's Brexit, the shifting political climate in the U.S., or the threat of terrorism or disease such as Zika, there seems to be only two certainties. First, we have no idea what we might wake up to find tomorrow because change happens fast. Two, and this is of utmost importance, travel is the best way to bring people together when isolation begins. At Virtuoso, we say borders divide, but travel unites. Never has it been more important to keep the ability to travel as a fundamental right."
Among the questions asked, Virtuoso surveyed its travel advisors globally to discover the impact of the Presidential Executive Order disallowing travelers from seven countries to enter the U.S. Although the order is not currently in effect, Virtuoso advisors report that it is still impacting clients' travel decisions. Among U.S.-based advisors, 10 percent say clients are changing travel plans due to a concern over anti-American sentiment. However, a much higher 40 percent say their clients are now avoiding certain destinations due to concerns over terrorism, including the Middle East, Europe and Africa, with Turkey and Egypt topping the list of countries. Instead, Americans are choosing to travel within their own country, as well as visit those perceived as safer, including Japan, Canada and New Zealand.
Forty-two percent of Virtuoso-affiliated travel advisors outside of the U.S. say their clients are avoiding travel to the United States due to factors including opposition to the country's foreign policy and concerns over obtaining visas. As an alternative, they are electing to travel to destinations such as Italy, Australia and the U.K. The majority of advisors anticipate the slowdown in travel to the U.S. will last three to six months.