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WORRIES OVER PERSONAL SAFETY NOW A MAJOR FACTOR IN VACATION TRAVEL

 NEW YORK, May 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Personal safety has become a major concern of American leisure travelers, according to a nationwide poll conducted by Fleishman-Hillard, Inc., a leading public relations agency and travel marketer.
 The telephone survey, which was conducted in April and is scientifically accurate to within four percentage points, consisted of 750 interviews with adults who have taken at least one vacation by airplane or cruise ship during the past two years.
 "Seventy-five percent of those interviewed say they are more worried now than in the past about choosing vacation destinations where they feel safe," said Bill Colon, senior vice president and corporate strategist at Fleishman-Hillard.
 "In our survey of November of 1991, 32 percent of the respondents cited safety or threats of terrorism as a factor in changing vacation plans. That had to be expected because of the Persian Gulf war, but the figure has not dropped significantly since. To find comparable levels of concern among air and cruise ship vacationers in 1993 comes as a surprise.
 "This concern appears to be having an effect on how travelers select their destinations. Our findings show that the number of people who say they try to visit one new vacation destination each year has dropped by 19 percent, from 58 percent to 47 percent," Colon said. "That is one of the steepest declines I've seen in my years of working with this industry."
 Virtually unchanged since the last Fleishman-Hillard survey was conducted are the significant majorities -- approximately two-thirds -- of all travelers who rate price/value and previous experience with a particular destination or cruise line as very important. Between 1991 and 1993 the percentage of respondents describing themselves as "more conservative" in making their travel plans declined only from 67 to 64.
 "The fact that, with a few important exceptions, attitudes have changed relatively little despite the recovery is remarkable. During the travel downturn of 1991 vacationers learned that they could demand more, or at least the same, for less. That lesson has not been forgotten and should not be overlooked by travel and destination marketers who want to remain competitive," Colon said.
 Included among the key findings of the Fleishman-Hillard poll were the following:
 -- The number of leisure travelers who took at least one vacation by air or cruise ship declined by 11 percent from 1991 to 1992. Travel is expected to hold at 1992 levels this year. The average number of air and cruise trips planned for the next 12 months dropped from 1.7 in November of 1991 to 1.4 in April of 1993.
 -- Among travelers planning a vacation in the next 12 months, the majority (54 percent) will be on the move during the summer (June, July, August). Forty-six percent are planning fall trips (September, October, November) and 27 percent expect to go during the winter (December, January, February).
 -- Twenty-nine percent of all respondents are planning to travel outside the continental U.S., with 42 percent of those favoring the Caribbean and 35 percent expecting to go to Europe. Sixty-five percent of those planning an international vacation say they will also be taking a domestic air or cruise trip.
 -- Forty-six percent of respondents planning an international trip have household incomes of $50,000 or more.
 -- Seventy-six percent of all respondents strongly agree that spending time with their spouse, companion or other family members is an important reason for taking a vacation. Forty-two percent agree that it is worth taking a 10-hour plane ride to reach an interesting, exotic destination. Thirty-nine percent agree at least somewhat that they have added cruise trips to their vacation options. Seventy-three percent agree at least somewhat that travel is an important part of their personal lifestyles.
 -- Rating the very important factors influencing their travel decisions, respondents cited: price/value (66 percent); personal experience (62 percent); friends' recommendations (35 percent); travel agents (33 percent); published articles (14 percent); advertising (7 percent).
 "The market has stabilized, but it is still evolving," Colon said. "It is becoming even more intensely competitive. With the individual traveler being more pragmatic and self-motivated than ever, marketers have to communicate aggressively and imaginatively on many levels. With overcapacity being the general rule among airlines, hotels and cruise lines, it's definitely a buyer's market."
 Fleishman-Hillard is headquartered in St. Louis, and operates more than 20 offices in the United States, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Europe and Asia. The firm's travel industry clients include airlines, destinations, theme parks and hotels. Copies of the 1993 travel and tourism survey may be obtained by calling Jeff Moran at 212-265-9150.
 -0- 5/25/93
 /CONTACT: Jeff Moran or Brett Tucker of Fleishman-Hillard, 212-265-9150/


CO: Fleishman-Hillard, Inc. ST: New York IN: LEI SU: ECO

SM-OS -- NY030 -- 2080 05/25/93 10:12 EDT
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Date:May 25, 1993
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