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Originally published Monday, May 16, 2011 at 11:04 AM

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Some tourists shun State Department travel warnings

A poll of travelers shows that few change their plans based on U.S. State Department travel warnings.

Los Angeles Times

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In April alone, the U.S. State Department issued nine travel warnings, cautioning Americans about the risk of being victims of violence while traveling in places like Iraq, Syria and Mexico.

In the case of Syria, the federal agency urged all American citizens on April 25 to leave the country as quickly as possible because of the violent clashes between government forces and anti-government demonstrators.

But it seems few Americans completely change their travel plans in response to such warnings, according to a recent online poll conducted by the Minneapolis-based travel company Travel Leaders.

Of the 1,000 Americans surveyed, 14 percent said a travel warning from the State Department would have no effect on their plans, and about 20 percent said a warning would have very little effect. The poll was conducted March 10 through April 10.

Only 18 percent of those surveyed said they would completely alter their travel plans in response to such warnings. The remaining 47 percent said the warnings would have some effect but not enough to make them cancel travel plans altogether.

The survey results also suggested that satisfaction over security measures at airports has declined.

Of those polled, 72 percent said they had no concerns about the use of full-body scanners that can look through clothing to spot hidden weapons and other contraband. In a similar survey conducted last year, about 82 percent said they had no concerns about the use of the scanners.

Among travelers who said they worry about the scanners, the top three reasons were fears that radiation could pose health risks; privacy issues; and security delays.

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