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Theft, mass shootings top safety concerns among Americans traveling in U.S.

A new survey finds nearly 43% of Americans traveling in the United States have elevated concerns about their personal safety. And those concerns are more common among certain groups.

People of color are most likely to express high or extremely high concerns about their personal safety while traveling in the U.S. (53.7%) compared to people who identified as white (40.6%). That’s according to market research firm Destination Analysts. Its survey also finds 51% of Generation Z travelers (under the age of 26) worry more about personal safety.  

The data were shared during a recent webinar hosted by Destination Analysts for destination and marketing organizations. 

Jeremy Cooker, vice president of marketing and special projects for New Orleans & Company, said his tourism group has a  visitor safety statement with specific information, along with common sense tips for any major city. 

He said ongoing communication between the hospitality industry, city government and law enforcement is key for New Orleans, “So while we get those questions about safety, we also address those just with facts, which is that millions  of people visit here, we have increased patrols in tourist areas just so people feel a little extra safe when they’re here.”

Cooker frequently shares information about planned activities and expected movements of groups with local law enforcement and businesses, “Let’s just make sure that we’ve got not only the businesses ready there to potentially host an influx of people on a day they might normally be off or might be short-staffed but also with the law enforcement just being there and ready to respond in the event of any incident where they need to respond.”

In June, Destination Analysts surveyed 4,000 Americans who had traveled in the United States in the past year. When asked about specific safety concerns, theft (36.7%) and mass shootings (34%) were at the top. More than 40% of respondents said there are U.S. destinations they would probably not visit due to safety concerns.

Homelessness can also impact perceptions and behaviors. Of 28.6% of travelers who visited an area they identified as having a significant homelessness issue in the last year, 40.6% said what they experienced would make them less likely to return and 46.3% said they were less likely to recommend the destination to friends and family members.

Earlier this year, Erin Francis-Cummings with Destination Analysts said the firm surveyed 12,000 international travelers to the U.S. and found, "Their concern about safety and gun violence is now as big of a concern to them as cost to them."

As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.