The results of a new global risk perception survey show that what people think is a risk and what is really a risk–statistically–are two very different things. This survey was conducted by a huge global PR firm that has very little interest in travel, but it shows the major disconnect between perception and reality.
Here’s my favorite quote: “Terrorism was cited among the top five greatest threats by more than 60% of respondents in each region, while obesity made the top five among just 6% of the sample. And this despite the fact that in the U.S. alone, some 300,000 people will die this year as a result of obesity.” Driving barely showed a blip in the survey, even though highway accidents kill more people each year in the US than all the terrorism events around the world added together.
Yes, there was another bombing this week, this time in usually calm Morocco. But it was in Casablanca, where few tourists go anyway, and one of the targets was the Belgian embassy, of all places. (C’mon – Belgium?! Somebody get a bad batch of chocolate?) So it turns out that the tourists seeing the sites in Marrakesh and Fez were not any more unsafe than those of us eating four doughnuts a day or exceeding the speed limit on the local highway.
Nevertheless, expect tourist visits to Morocco to drop by half. The media will talk about it for weeks and the fear of the unknown will make people cancel their trip and head to the Aladdin Casino in Vegas instead. (Of course it’s very risky there as well, but mostly for your wallet.)
But I’ve seen all this before and I know what it means for the intrepid. Bargain flights, heavily discounted hotel rooms, and the casbahs all to yourself. Say hello to the camels for me. I miss them.