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Vaccine a Game-changer for Return of Business Travel, Says GBTA

Vaccination against the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic could be a game-changer in the recovery of business travel, a recent Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) poll found.

The business travel association said that most of its members and stakeholders would be “very comfortable” or “comfortable” traveling for business after receiving the Covid-19 vaccination, and almost half support mandatory testing prior to travel to ensure the safety of customers when meeting face-to-face.

The latest findings come from the 16th installment of the coronavirus poll, conducted by GBTA since the onset of the pandemic to measure its impact on business travel.

Some of its key findings include:

– More than half (55 percent ) of GBTA buyer and procurement members feel their employees are “willing” or “very willing” to travel for business in the current environment, up from 49 percent in the January poll.

– The majority of respondents (79 percent) say they would be “very comfortable” or “comfortable” traveling for business after receiving the Covid-19 vaccination. Another one in ten (14 percent) are neutral or would be uncomfortable traveling for business (7 percent).

– Almost half (49 percent) of GBTA member and stakeholder respondents feel it is a “good policy” to mandate Covid-19 testing for employees before they can travel for work. Respondents from Europe are more likely (58 percent) than respondents from North America (44 percent) to say mandated testing is a ”good policy”. Less than one in five think it is a “bad policy” (15 percent) or are unsure (16 percent).

Among those who think mandated testing prior to business travel is a “good policy,” most feel it is because customers and clients will feel safe having face-to-face meetings (69 percent) and it will help resume business travel (64 percent).

– A majority of GBTA members and stakeholders (58 percent) support airlines requiring passengers to provide proof of vaccination in order to fly (once vaccines become more readily available), whereas one-quarter (28 percent) do not and 15 percent are unsure. European respondents (65 percent) are more likely than those in North America (54 percent) to support proof of vaccination to fly.

Border closures and restrictions have significantly impacted business travel. Two-thirds (68 percent) of GBTA members and stakeholders report border closures and restrictions have reduced business travel at their company and over half (56 percent) say the restrictions and closures have increased confusion and uncertainties about when business travel can resume.

In addition, four in ten (43 percent) say border closures and restrictions have impacted their company recovery efforts in 2021.

Feelings about Covid-19 pre-testing as a requirement for domestic business travel vary. Half (52 percent) of GBTA members and stakeholders support pre-testing while one-third (33 percent) do not.

– Companies have undertaken a host of measures as a result of the coronavirus, including:

Source: GBTA

– Most GBTA member companies have not opened international (89 percent) or domestic (64 percent) travel as companies continue to cancel and/or suspend almost all business travel regardless of destination. A strong majority of GBTA member companies (76 percent) continue to report they have suspended or cancelled all business travel regardless of location.

Source: GBTA

GBTA conducted a poll of its members across the globe from February 8-15, 2021. A total of 779 responses were received.

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