Business Travel: A Global View

business travel

Globetrender’s Future of Business Travel report, produced with Business Traveller magazine, in association with American Express, shines light on some staggerings stats about the impact of COVID-19 on business travel across the globe.

The good news is that although business travel came close to a standstill, almost 40 percent of respondents said they planned to begin traveling again for work before the end of 2020, and 8 percent already are.

The survey of 2,020 readers of Business Traveller included 43 percent from the UK, 18 percent from Asia, 12 percent from North America, 11 percent from Western Europe (including Scandinavia), and 8 percent from Australasia. The final 8 percent were collectively from the Middle East, South America, and Eastern and Southern Europe, including Turkey.

Here are a few highlights:

• 89 percent of business travelers around the world stopped traveling when there were travel restrictions in their region during the pandemic. Of those that continued during this period, 41 percent were top management.

• 17 percent have traveled since lockdown travel restrictions eased (mainly short-haul or domestic).

• 91 percent said they would be less likely to travel if they were required to quarantine at their destination. 85 percent would be less likely to travel if they were required to quarantine when they returned home.

• 80 percent said they would be more confident traveling again when there is a vaccine for COVID-19. 74 percent said high standards of hygiene would encourage them to travel again.

• 77 percent said they would take a COVID-19 test to avoid quarantine and 65 percent would take an antibody test for a health certificate.

• Respondents from the UK and US are more confident about starting to travel on business again than those from Australia and Asia.

• 76 percent said that being face to face with clients is preferable to remote working for sales meetings and meeting with clients.

• 78 percent said they wouldn’t shake hands in a meeting.

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Barbara Scofidio is editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In 25 years of covering the industry, her articles have spanned topics ranging from social media to strategic meetings management. She is currently the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee and was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of Site, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. A familiar face at industry events, Barbara often leads panel discussions or speaks on topics close to her heart, such as green meetings or how the industry can help combat human trafficking. She is also on the board of ECPAT USA, the human trafficking organization. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.