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Perceived Risk: Are We Really Safer Than Ever?

by James Barton / November 14, 2019

Last week, the UK government downgraded the UK’s terrorism threat level from ‘severe’ to ‘substantial’ based on the fact that the threat is the lowest since August 2014.

This is great, but despite the warnings that terrorism in the UK is still a ‘direct and immediate risk’ many people have seen this as a green light to travel.

In many respects there is logic here, but the question I have is are you actually safer?

The problem is one of perceived risk.

When most people think of Travel Safety, their minds immediately go to the terrorism risk, or the risk of being attacked or even kidnapped.

However, what most people don’t realise is that whilst these are indeed risks to be careful of, for most countries - the UK included - there are many other risks that pose a greater danger but are largely ignored or at the very least not considered.

If I ask our Travel Safety chatbot, Chatbot Charlie, about a country, it responds back with the top risks (based on live data) for that country.

If I put in the UK, the top risks (outside of terrorism) are:

  • Corruption
  • Politics
  • Stability

Those last two are not that surprising given what is happening with Brexit. But what about the US? Well in this case it is:

  • Natural disasters
  • Security
  • Travel

How many of us travel to the US and plan for a natural disaster or even give it a second thought?

Talking about holidays, Turkey is becoming a popular destination again. But what does Charlie say? In this case the top three are:

  • Terrorism
  • Kidnap and Ransom
  • Corruption

But how many people are preparing for those risks even though they are twice as prevalent in Turkey as they are in the UK?

I do appreciate that economies can be significantly impacted by how safe the travellers think they are, but we also have a duty of care to properly inform people of the risks they could face.

Turkey is actually a really good case in point. There are very few people I know that would not travel to Turkey because of the offer of a cheap holiday in the sun. They throw away their personal safety to save a few pounds.

Our perception of risk is exactly that.  A perception and therefore subjective.

This is why we built tools like Chatbot Charlie, as it removes a lot of the debate as it is using live, validated data (from our partner A2 Global Risk) which gives everyone the opportunity to really identify the risks for their travel and make sure they are prepared.

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James Barton

James Barton

With over 20 years of experience in technology and sales, James is one of the leading voices in leveraging technology to create effective solutions.