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Travel Troubles: Asia, not Europe is the safest destination for Americans in 2016

Lamat R Hasan | Updated on: 14 February 2017, 5:33 IST

Globetrotting sounds like fun. We've been sold that idea by countless Facebook photos, travel listicles, Twitter updates and endless bragging from different people about the "most amazing holiday ever". A certain level of exaggeration is a given.

Because here's the thing- travel destinations come with varying versions of risks. Many a times you're left to choose between the devil and the deep sea, underneath all the gloss of that travel brochure.

Read: Huge setback for Goa as Russia removes India from safe travel destinations list

Many people are paranoid about where they buy a ticket for. Not everyone can tap into their inner carefree, don't-give-a-crap, hippie self.

For this purpose, a leading medical and travel security assistance company spoke to over 400 US citizens about perceived travel risks in 2016. The International SOS then pinned Asia as the safest place for Americans to travel to this year.

For good measure, here's that Malaysian tourism ad that all of us grew up on. You know that jingle is stuck in your head better than any tourism ad India ever produced.

The survey claims that terrorism is a bigger concern than polluted air for most travellers when planning their itinerary.

Given the risks on the ground - terrorism, the Zika virus, traffic accidents, air pollution and what not - compulsive travellers would rather give Europe a miss in favour of Asia.

Survey says

International SOS spoke to travellers about perceived risks. A majority of respondents - 71 percent - thought travel risks will increase in 2016. Only 10 percent travellers thought it would not.

The table below shows which regions present the greatest risk in 2016.

travel risk 1

Also read: Bartender's Sketchbook is the best thing we've seen on Instagram recently

While traditionally travellers' worries have been limited to the dangers of food poisoning, they now have to think of combatting viruses such as Ebola and the latest, Zika.

Some others - 58 respondents worried about food poisoning. The rest about Ebola, MERS and dengue fever.

travel risk 2

More power to Asia

From the answers it seems that Asia is the safest place in the world.

Europe is just a notch above Asia in terms of safety, but it is more susceptible to acts of terror. And when it is a matter of life and death, poor air quality matters little.

singapore travel

Singapore all lit up

Dr Myles Druckman, Senior Vice President of International SOS, explains why air quality isn't a real travel factor:

"For travellers, it's less of an issue because they know they're going to be in and out. They can handle three, four, five days of bad air quality. For persons living there, it's a major issue. For travellers, it's more of an inconvenience."

The threat list

This is how travellers ranked threats:

1. Acts of terror

2. Opportunistic crime

3. Civil unrest

4. Targeted attacks

5. Road traffic accidents

6. Natural disasters

7. Information and data breach

8. Kidnapping and abduction

9. Lack of access to safe transportation

10. Corruption

11. Visa issue

Read more- Shocker: not just Delhi, India has 10 of the world's 15 most polluted cities

While terror threats were a concern for 56% travellers, only 6% worried about visa issues. "Targeted attacks" were at 31%.

When it comes to health, the unwelcome food poisoning is what travellers worry about most. It topped at 67%.

1. Food and water borne diseases

2. Access to quality healthcare

3. Airborne diseases

4. Endemic diseases

5. Air quality

6. Access to trauma care

7. Lack of access to medications

8. Lack of access to psycho-social resources

Only 19% of respondents were concerned about air quality - giving Asia a thumbs-up.

Well then Asia, roll out the red carpets and prepare for mass tourist landing and way too many selfies.

Meanwhile, check out this hilarious sketch that beautifully ties together travel and this new age of security.

Edited by Anna Verghese

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First published: 1 February 2016, 7:19 IST
Lamat R Hasan @LamatAyub

Bats for the four-legged, can't stand most on two. Forced to venture into the world of homo sapiens to manage uninterrupted companionship of 16 cats, 2 dogs and counting... Can read books and paint pots and pay bills by being journalist.