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5 reasons why travel is more important now than ever

In scary times, it can be easy to toss your dog-eared passport into a drawer and push all thoughts of airplanes and culture shock from your mind.

In scary times, it can be easy to toss your dog-eared passport into a drawer and push all thoughts of airplanes and culture shock from your mind.

But resist the temptation. Yes, the world’s going a little crazy right now. But if we all stopped travelling, it would get even worse.

Here are five reasons why you need to keep scratching that itch.


1.We don’t want to let fear win


Since 9/11, terrorism has become a major tourism deterrent. Research by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council’s GeoBranding Center and AIG Travel found that last year, one in four travellers changed their plans in the last year as a result of concerns over safety.

Of those, 83% said that potential terrorist activity was their primary reason to avoid travel to certain destinations while 49% were wary of military conflict or fighting. Political upheaval was the main concern for 33% of those who cancelled plans while the outbreak of disease was top of mind for 31%.

But statistics show that people are far more likely to die or be injured while at home than while travelling. You’re more likely to be fatally crushed by furniture than killed by a terrorist.

Life is for living after all. So instead of building walls, which have never helped solve anything, we should be encouraging cultural exchange and learning from each other – which is exactly what travel enables us to do.


2.It makes us better people


A number of studies have demonstrated the benefits of travel for heart and brain health – it has been found to lower the risk of heart attack and death from coronary disease in certain groups, and, by keeping travellers on their toes, helps to keep the brain ticking nicely.

We’ve finally cottoned on to the importance of diet and exercise to our health, and travel could be next. Suddenly, the idea of doctors prescribing travel to their patients in the future doesn’t seem so crazy.

As if that wasn’t enough, research has also confirmed that experience in other countries makes us more flexible, creative and complex thinkers which in turn can lead to a range of benefits such as professional success.

But you have to be open to adapting and learning from other cultures – which many travellers are.

Forget walls. It’s all about opening your mind.


3.It makes financial sense

Piggybank - travel

Flight Centre boss Skroo Turner often refers to this as the “golden age of travel” highlighting prices lower than ever before that can take us to places we never even dreamt of visiting in times gone by.

“I went to Europe in ’72 on a student fare. One-way to Munich cost around $500. I was working as a vet then on around $6,500 a year, so nearly 10%,” he said recently.

“Essentially today to Europe the best fares are around $1,600 to $1,700 and the average wage is $65-$70,000 so it’s about 10 or 12 days’ salary for people.”

And it’s not just our own pockets that are benefitting from the shift. The world is becoming increasingly dependent on the contributions of the tourism industry.

For the fifth successive year, the growth of the travel and tourism sector in 2015 (2.8%) outpaced that of the global economy (2.3%) and a number of other major sectors such as manufacturing and retail – a trend that looks set to continue. In total, it generated US $7.2 trillion (9.8% of global GDP) and supported 284 million jobs.


4.We still want to see each other


With the advent of the Internet, it looked like the days of face to face  meetings were numbered and business travel was going to take a tumble. But that hasn’t happened.

Regardless of how tech-savvy you are, meetings someone in person remains the most effective way to capture their attention, engage them in conversation, and drive productive collaboration.

As efficient as digital communication has become, strong personal relationships which are so essential to build strong businesses can only be done face-to-face, helping build trust, understanding and a sense of shared purpose.


5.It makes us happy


A recent global study of 17,000 people commissioned by Booking.com revealed that for a whopping 70%, lasting happiness results from travel rather than material items.

As a result, 56% of people choose to splash their cash on holidays rather than possessions while 48% prioritise spending money on escapes over home improvements.

A recent study by Cornell University delved deeper into the matter and found that spending money on experiences is more likely to bring you lasting happiness than spending money on material objects. Why? Because the things you’ve bought will bring decreasing amounts of happiness as time goes on as the novelty wears off but you’ll look back at those one-off experiences with increasing fondness as time goes by.

And happiness is exactly what we need more of in the world.

Are you planning to travel in the next year?