Security tops tourist concerns in holiday choice

According to a research report, security is holidaymakers' main consideration when choosing a destination.

A member of the Tunisian security forces patrols the beach of the Riu Imperial Marhaba Hotel on the outskirts of Sousse south of the capital Tunis on 27 June 2015 in the aftermath of a shooting attack on the beach resort claimed by the Islamic State group. Picture: AFP.

TUNIS - Security is holidaymakers' main consideration when choosing a destination, a research report released on Wednesday by Bournemouth University and travel search site Travelzoo said.

"Since Tunisia happened, safety and security has moved higher and higher up the agenda," Travelzoo's European President Richard Singer told Reuters, adding that security was now travellers' number one concern.

A British coroner last week criticised the security arrangements of a Tunisian hotel where 38 tourists were killed by a militant in 2015.

The study said it had found that "97% of all respondents have personal safety at the forefront of their minds when choosing a holiday destination, and that the majority feel significantly more concerned now than they did in 2014".

"Two years ago, the most important things to do with choosing a holiday probably revolved around price or sunshine. But now, it's just safety and security," Singer said, adding that travel advice needed to be easier to understand.

Some of the families of victims of the Tunisia attack said that they would have changed their plans if they had been aware of warnings about travel to Tunisia.

Wednesday's report recommended a "pass/fail" security accreditation for hotels and landmarks, although Singer said its exact form was up to the industry to decide.