May 23, 2022

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Impact of the invasion of Ukraine on psychological fear of travel

Impact of the invasion of Ukraine on psychological fear of travel

Anxiety is the main symptom of homophobia. It can manifest as a fear that creates physical and mental reactions, and it can turn into a panic attack (Reuters/Maxim Shemetov)

After two years of pandemic and restrictions, resuming vacations or routine vacations has become very complicated for all destinations around the world. fact, The transfer rates that existed before the pandemic have not yet resumed and the number of flights in 2019 has not been reached either..

When this was in clear progress, in an attempt to overcome difficulties, the European scenario darkens again with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Psychologists agree that fear transcends conflicting boundaries. On the other hand, the The President of the Spanish Federation of Travel Agencies (CEAV), Carlos Garrido, estimated that these events will have an impact on destinations close to Russia..

However the president of the association Spain’s Specialized Travel Agency (ACAVe) company, Martín Sarrate, He is somewhat more cautious and expresses himself with fear that “This will cause The tourist has psychological fear and discourages him from traveling, as happened in previous wars“.

According to Garrido, “We are very worried, because in general tourists are very afraid, We hope that this feeling is confined to the area closest to the epicenter of the conflict. This is bad news for the sector because We were in the moment of reactivation“.

In this scenario, fear of travel is starting to be a topic of discussion among those who travel through Europe, travel with conflict-affected airlines or have to cross neighboring regions with compromise due to air routes, actual duration or implementation. flights. Hodophobia is the medical term for the fear of travel. Some people call it a “journey of phobias”.

The conflict in Ukraine can cause psychological fear for tourists and may prevent them from traveling, as happened in previous wars (Reuters)
The conflict in Ukraine can cause psychological fear for tourists and may prevent them from traveling, as happened in previous wars (Reuters)

This is a phobia that can develop after highly publicized events or disasters that instill fear in the public. “The fear of travel usually comes from a previous negative experience while traveling,” he explained. Rocio Rodríguez Rey is an expert information psychologist and professor in the Department of Psychology at the Universidad Bonificia de Comillas, Spain.-. Memory of the event creates a greater response than Physical and emotional stress before a new travel opportunity.”

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However, specialists are aware that there is a second reason that arises after a major global event that attracts national or international attention. Outbreaks of epidemics are an example of such events that create travel fears in people, such as the war between Ukraine and Russia. Rodriguez Rey noted that “It is normal for these events to cause adverse psychological effects such as anxiety, worry, sadness, or difficulty sleeping. The adrenaline It is turned on and does not always allow an adequate view of reality. In this scenario, delaying flights has a double problem: the fear of this happening on the one hand, and the disappointment of having them suspended on the other.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) indicated that the first person experience of war causes more depression, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress, anxiety, and polarity than in those who did not experience these traumatic experiences. Without close war experiences, 1 in 14 people suffer from these mental disorders, but in war 1 in 3 suffers from these disorders, according to the study published in the scientific journal The Lancet..

In addition, the World Health Organization warns that even if the war ends, the psychological trauma it caused will last for years. “A fact that does not directly apply to travelers of course, but it affects their behavior and decisions in the same sense,” Rodriguez Ray said.

Hodophobia is the medical term for the fear of travel.  Some people call it
Hodophobia is the medical term for the fear of travel. Some people call it a “journey of phobia” (Reuters/Louis Curtis)

Experts point out that, besides personal fears, real events also exacerbate fears, such as the epidemic and armed conflict. The specialist asserts that “looking the other way and not being informed is not a solution. It is a real situation that is happening.”

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Claudio Blas Scientist, psychiatrist and founder of Poudre Vollaran organization that provides solutions for people who are afraid of planes, agrees that “modernity has brought greater demands and forces us to adapt to changes that generate anxiety. Today we all deal with large amounts of uncertainty, which generates anxiety of having to choose between multiple paths, With the fear of failure that this implies.”

“The effects of armed conflict are especially at this time,” said Francisco de las Heras, a sociologist emeritus at the University of Deusto. Fears multiply because we can discover everything a few minutes after it happens. People can make decisions that are not always based on real situations.”

Anxiety is the main symptom of homophobia. It can manifest as a fear that creates physical and mental reactions, and it can turn into a panic attack.. In 2020, it was estimated that 25% of the US population had significant levels of travel anxiety. “Travel phobia and the accompanying anxiety are greatly amplified during world events such asSARS and COVID-19 epidemics, wars, social movements, and transportation used as a means of terrorism De las Heras has been added. The advantage that appears in these tables is that They do not necessarily wake up in the directly affected audience. It can cause fear in those who do not travel geographically to or across conflict destinations“.

For this specialist, the way each subject makes decisions about their travels in this context will depend on personal flexibility. In this regard, it is suggested that “this characteristic allows the individual to better adapt to stressful situations, to cooperate in the ability to make decisions correctly.”

Rationality to proceed

Experts point out that, besides personal fears, real events also exacerbate fears, such as the pandemic and armed conflict (REUTERS / Hannah McKay)
Experts point out that, besides personal fears, real events also exacerbate fears, such as the pandemic and armed conflict (REUTERS / Hannah McKay)

It’s not all about travel after all. Rodriguez Rey confirmed thatFears can be a way to be vigilant and avoid unnecessary risks. Those ranks are very personal and Some may choose not to travel around Europe at all, for example, while others may consider that traveling to Moscow, a geographical area untouched by conflict, may be safe after all.“.

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To decide whether to suspend or postpone a trip, or decide to do so, in the face of a particular conflict situation, such as the current war, psychologists recommend taking certain precautions. Obtain information through the appropriate channels: travel agency, airline, embassy of the country of destination in the country of departure and the embassy itself at the location of arrival.

Russia is an important point in the cruise and circuit industry. It has become a destination of weightSarrat said. In fact, in addition to closing the skies, rescheduling of routes and stops, cancellation of flights and other means of transportation have been added. For example, MSC Cruises has already announced the cancellation of all of its St. Petersburg scales.

Analyze emergency situations, assess whether you are traveling alone or in a group, and on the other hand, assess whether there are minors in the unit. Never forget to check the validity of medical coverage on the site to be visited. “Even if all doubts are dispelled, if no grave dangers are observed, and yet fear persists and is stronger than desire, it is better not to travel.. Rodriguez Ray noted that anxiety can end up triggering other health setbacks that would create a negative episode in the experience.

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