According to a poll of 1,600 member companies conducted by the GBTA in mid-April, one in three companies are planning for some recovery in business travel in three months or less. 62% expect domestic travel to resume in the next two to three months. A majority (88%) of members expect employees will be willing to travel once restrictions are lifted.
Whatever the time-frames, when restrictions are lifted and companies start to travel, Duty of Care responsibilities and Travel Risk Management have never been more important, ensuring that those willing to travel are supported from both a medical and travel safety perspective.
The numbers will be fewer and travel more expensive and the days of “bleisure” travel may be over but business essential travel will resume and in order to do this employees expectations will be higher with regards what their company is doing to support them before and during travel and, just as importantly, upon their return should they have to self-quarantine.
Generic, tick box Travel Risk Assessments are no longer fit for purpose. Pre-travel support should focus on in-depth, personalised and dynamic Travel Risk Assessments surrounding complex and fast-moving entry and re-entry requirements and guidelines which vary from country to country and state to state. Additionally, they should consider the medical infrastructure in the destination country / countries – do they have the capability to treat staff members to international standards should they fall ill? This will continue as the Corona Virus ebbs and flows around the world until a vaccine is developed and delivered. Critically risk assessments should be conducted or reviewed by individuals and teams with specialist skill sets to identify and mitigate health and safety risks and authorisation to travel signed off not just from a financial but also travel safety perspective.
Pre-travel safety training should be available, either face-to-face or via e-Learning, focusing on the specific destination and informed by the Travel Risk Assessment.
Whilst travelling an organisation needs to be able to locate and communicate with their travellers in real-time, and have access to relevant and up to date information and advice surrounding changes in the health and safety landscape so that they are able to respond quickly and efficiently in the best interests of their staff. Just as importantly companies will now need to know where their staff have been historically if they have visited a newly infected country and need to take precautionary measures.
There will be an expectation that the travellers organisation has the capability to respond and support them from a medical and safety perspective should things go wrong.
Securewest have been supporting our clients for over 30 years and continue to do so throughout the current pandemic. We are actively monitoring stranded clients, providing real-time updates and repatriating them to their home countries. Most recently we supported one of our clients to successfully repatriate their staff, and one of our Securewest team members who was supporting them, from Saudi Arabia.
For more information about Travel Risk Management please contact our team.