Unilateral Foreign Policies and Fear of Terrorism Harm America’s Tourism Industry

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GMI World Poll finds international consumers less willing to travel to United States due to discontent over unilateral foreign policies and fear of terrorism

International consumers discontent over America’s unilateral foreign policies along with a fear of terrorism is harming America’s recovering, post-9/11 tourism business according to a poll by independent market research firm GMI, Inc. (http://www.worldpoll.com).

“The travel and tourism industry was the third-largest U.S. industry and the third-largest private employer prior to 9/11. Since 9/11, the tourism industry has been in a state of recovery; these new GMI World Poll findings suggest that this recovery has plenty of doubt and uncertainty to overcome. Americans must also recognize that if the tourism sector suffers, other tourism related industries will also suffer,” explains COO and Chief Pollster of GMI Inc., Dr. Mitchell Eggers.

GMI’s World Poll, which samples 8,000 individuals from all G8 economic countries* (1,000 representative sampling in each), is the first internationally focused public-opinion survey to compile data linking the Bush administration’s foreign policies directly to consumers’ willingness to purchase American good and services abroad. The poll reveals that 55% of Japanese, 36% of Germans and 32% of French are less likely to visit America for business or tourism, due to America’s global war on terrorism and unilateral foreign policies. Fifty-five percent of international consumers surveyed cite an increasingly negative perception of the United States, while 67% of international consumers believe American unilateral foreign policies are guided by “self interests” and “empire building.”

“The astonishing and overwhelmingly negative response to the war in Iraq will have both a short and long term effect on American consumer brands abroad, along with tourism in the United States, illustrates how the political and economic dimensions of globalization are inseparable. The increasing strategic and economic interdepence of the world precludes the myopic unilateralism on display in Iraq and elsewhere. Not only will this impact the necessarily global policies of multinationals, but it makes America hostage to Washington's political/strategic policies—and there is little that they can do to counter it,” warns University of Washington Professor of International Studies and Politics and Director of the Institute for International Policy, Dr. Donald Hellmann.

When respondents were asked if they avoid flying on American-owned and operated airline while taking an international trip, 57% of Japanese, 44% of Chinese, 42% of French, and 38% of British responded yes. Out of those respondents who replied yes, 92% of Japanese, 88% of Chinese and 87% of British cited their fear of terrorists as a reason to avoid American-owned and operated airlines. Furthermore, out of the respondents that replied yes, 36% of French and 24% of Germans cited that they avoided flying American-owned and operated airlines on international trips because they were boycotting American products and services.

“Travel industry analysts expect strength in most areas including international inbound business and leisure traffic. It appears, however, this expectation might be a bit optimistic given the palpable reluctance to fly American flagged carriers and the persistent fear of terrorist attacks among foreigners. These fears combined with a deteriorating view of America and our foreign policy, will surely work against the rebound in travel and tourism in the U.S.,” further explains Dr. Eggers.

The GMI World Poll also indicates that 18%, or one in five foreigners, say they will avoid many U.S. products due to America’s unilateral foreign policies. Out of this 18% (1260 respondents), 40% said they would definitely avoid flying American Airlines, 38% United Airlines, and 34% Northwest Airlines. Thirty-one percent also felt their governments should avoid purchasing aircraft produced by Seattle-based Boeing.

Complete results of GMI World Poll surveys are available in their entirety at the following Web site: (http://www.worldpoll.com). Upon request, GMI will provide media with comprehensive World Poll survey results cross-tabulated by variables such as age, gender, geographic region, and where applicable, race and ethnicity.

*G8 nations are the world's major industrial democracies, including Canada, France, Germany, China, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

About GMI World Poll

GMI World Poll quickly and accurately gathers international opinions about topical issues and critical global events, with real-time results available in as little as 24 hours. GMI World Poll is the only survey that polls global opinions in real-time, on-line, and with statistically accurate results. More information on GMI World Poll is available at http://worldpoll.com.

About GMI

GMI provides integrated solutions for market research. The company’s advanced software, global panels, and service bureau capabilities are built around a deep competence in conducting multi-country research using a Net-centric approach to data collection. With operations on four continents, GMI is the partner of choice for conducting global market research at the speed of the Internet. More information on GMI is available at http://www.gmi-mr.com.

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Mark Houston
GMI
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