The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), the world’s largest business travel association, has released the results from its 15th coronavirus poll, the first in 2021, to measure the impact on business travel following the onset of the pandemic last year.
The latest survey finds that more than half of respondents expect most of their employees will return to the office by Q3, in line with a return to non-essential business travel and a growth in traveler confidence.
“While we continue to face challenges for our industry, there is light at the end of the tunnel and projections for a return to some normality remain positive for Q3,” said Dave Hilfman, interim Executive Director of GBTA. “The global roll out of vaccination programs continues to be a key driver in restoring traveler confidence, but uncertainty remains around traveler requirements for a return to business travel, whether this be pre-testing, testing on arrival or proof of vaccine. GBTA will continue to lobby on behalf of members for clarity and a consistent approach among governments.”
Ten percent (10%) expect their employees to return in nine months or longer. One-quarter (26%) report they have not decided and an additional one in ten (11%) respondents are unsure.
The vaccine continues to be at the forefront of the recovery plan. When asked to assess comfort with allowing employees to travel for business if certain travel industry workers — such as flight attendants, pilots and hotel employees — are classified as essential workers (which could allow them to receive their vaccination before the general population), a majority say it would. Two-thirds (64%) of GBTA member company respondents report vaccinating certain travel industry workers would make them ‘somewhat’ or ‘a great deal’ more comfortable. One in four (27%) say it would make them ‘a little bit’ or ‘not at all’ comfortable and one in ten (9%) are unsure.