In a joint press release issued by both organisations, Chairman of the TRIP Group and travel risk expert Lloyd Figgins explained that he believes risk management is the key to getting business travel safely underway once again. “Rather than looking at the situation from a commercial perspective, what’s actually required is a risk management approach to getting people travelling again and that’s where the business travel industry comes into play,” he said. “Any return to international travel needs to be staged and thoroughly risk assessed in order that travellers and the public, both at home and abroad, can be best protected.
“Business travellers offer the opportunity to not only be the pioneers for a return to mainstream travel, but also to help restart the international economy. They and their employers are in a unique position and this could be used to help regenerate the industry.”
Identifying the key aspects that made business travellers better adapted to travel risk management measures, the TRIP Group and the BTA referenced the following:
- Employers have the opportunity to create robust Travel Risk Management (TRM) procedures, including the provision and use of PPE, training on safety protocols, transport provision upon arrival at the destination country, accommodation and meeting-place safety.
- Business travellers that are granted an exemption from quarantine in the destination country, would be able to would work from home for 14 days after their return from a business trip. Not only does this help ensure the safety of those non-travelling staff working in the same office, in the initial stages of any such trial (and because the numbers of those travelling would be relatively low), authorities at ports would be able to establish and trial health and security systems for when volume increases.
- The TRIP Group and the BTA also cited health monitoring through HR and Occupational Health Departments, the provision of testing kits, and rolling out immunity passports that could be used in the same way Yellow Fever certificates are required in certain countries around the world.
Commenting on the importance of quarantining exceptions for business travellers, Clive Wrattan, CEO of the BTA, said: “Business travel would normally contribute £600 million a day to UK GDP, the current 14-day quarantine makes this impossible. We want the industry and government to come together to quickly find a workable solution that safeguards health and promotes economic growth. Creating a travel risk system is a great step towards combining these forces.”
Lloyd added: “Only by taking this measured and systematic style of approach can governments and businesses move forward in the fight to get travel moving again. Once a successful trial period has been completed, the industry would have a much better picture of where it is and what the next steps need to be. Employers are already in a position to provide comprehensive risk assessments, as well as their emergency response and evacuation plans, in order to reassure travellers of what will happen in the event of a second (or third) wave of Covid-19.”
And ITIJ notes that with statistics such as those recently published by LuggageHero popping up, which revealed that the demand for business travel overtook that of international holiday travel in May, it certainly seems likely that travellers appear to have more confidence with the risk management and overall organisation procedures involved in business travel.
Certainly, as The TRIP Group and the BTA reason, the business travel industry could well hold the key to consumers taking their next holiday. But it’s up to local governments to first layout the necessary entry requirements and quarantining exemptions for business travellers before the industry can reach that stage.