In a survey of business travelers done just fours day into the war with Iraq, only 9 percent said they had canceled a business trip because of the war, and 72 percent said the war would not influence their travel plans within the next 12 months. Of those who said their business travel plans would change, 63 percent said they would take fewer international business trips, and 39 percent said they would take fewer domestic trips.
John Russell, chief executive officer, Hospitality Artists LLC, and partner, Yesawich, Pepperdine, Brown & Russell, announced the survey results at the Massachusetts Governor's Conference on Travel & Tourism held at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel on April 2. The online, self-administered survey of 3,000 adult travelers, which asked about leisure and business travel intentions, took place from March 24 to March 26.
Of the 651 business travelers who responded, 60 percent said they would not travel to specific destinations, 58 percent said they'd travel on U.S. flag carriers only, and 56 percent said they would drive rather than fly. In terms of outright cancellations, 53 percent said they would cancel a future international trip and 28 percent a future domestic trip.
On the leisure side, only seven percent of the nearly 2,300 respondents said they would cancel a leisure trip because of the war, a figure far lower than results of surveys done right after 9/11, said Russell. "It shows we're starting to get a little more used to it [the threat of terrorism], and that travel is more or less a birthright. " Of the destinations leisure travelers were less likely to visit (from among those who would change their plans), 73 percent said they would be less likely to visit Western Europe, 58 percent Washington, D.C., and 54 percent New York City.
He urged the hoteliers and other tourism officials in the audience to continue "to market during this period" and "to get rid of the fine print" in cancellation policies. He added that leisure travel would be the success of the next two years, not business travel. And he projected that breakfast, premium movies, and Internet or high-speed Web charges would be built into the room price, and not be add-ons, at hotels within the next few years. For more on the YPBR survey results, visit ww.iraqwarphobia.info.