Despite the travel alert, Americans still willing to travel to Europe

The editorial on this subject is that of the author’s and does not reflect the opinions of Europe a la Carte or its other writers.

The big news this past week was the US State Department warning Americans about travel to Europe.  With possible threats against a number of different European cities by Al Qaeda, Americans were put on alert and told to be cautious when traveling across the pond.

In circumstances like this, the media jumps on board and uses scare tactics to talk about the dangers.  While many try and use the facts to make the argument that Al Qaeda has made threats and Americans may be in danger, does this really mean people won’t travel to Europe?

Last week, I wrote about a number of people that said traveling to Europe was ok.  However, while the opinions of those ranged from European travel experts to US Senators to every day people, I wasn’t sure whether that attitude truly reflected how people really felt.  So I decided to see for myself.

This past week, I conducted a poll asking people whether the travel alert affected attitudes toward traveling to Europe.  63 people responded (with voters from the US, Europe, and beyond) and 98% of those said they would still travel to Europe.  Nearly 75 % of those voters were Americans.

Of those voters, over half of those were currently traveling in Europe or have planned a trip to Europe within the next 12 months.  25% of those surveyed said they would be cautious but would still travel to Europe.  Nearly 75% say they have no hesitation at all.  Only 1 person out of 63 said they would not travel to Europe because of the alert issued.

What does this mean?  While the sample size of voters was small, it consisted of people who love to travel.  If there were more votes from the more casual traveler, they may have skewed the results more towards the side of caution.  However, the vote is overwhelmingly positive about traveling to Europe.

While the US State Department issued the warning, I don’t believe this to be scare tactics on part of the US.  After 9/11, the government was criticized for having information and not warning people or doing anything about it.  Now, this was done as a precaution to make sure that people are aware of what is going on.

As for the media, it remains to be seen what effect they may have.  Just publishing the warning is a duty but it also carries a negative connotation.  From travel experts, businessmen, senators, and votes of travelers and everyday people, most still support traveling to Europe.

Despite the specific warnings against Paris, Berlin, and others, Europe has lived with the threat of terrorists for years.  For many countries, like Ireland and Spain, the terrorists have come from within their own countries.  Madrid and London had their versions of 9/11 with the train and Tube bombings.

While wrestling with the travel alert issue over the last week, the general consensus seems to be to go ahead and go.  Use caution, be a little more aware than usual, and make the best decision for yourself on whether to travel to Europe or not.  With terrorism and conflict all over the world, the travel alert to Europe is just one of many threats that people deal with every day.