International business travel is expected to rise by 26% in 2021 and another 34% in 2022, recouping some of the losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. With these statistics in mind, security leaders can prepare for the rise in travel by considering some key health security factors.
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) released the findings of its report, "Adapting To Endemic Covid-19: The Outlook For Business Travel." The report from WTTC and McKinsey & Company conducted research and interviewed 19 CEOs and other key travel and tourism stakeholders to gain deeper insight into how the pandemic has continued to shift business travel.
The report identified important factors for security and other professionals to consider when planning business travel around the globe, including:
- Vaccination rates: The rate of vaccination in business travel destinations varies from country to country and will likely be a considered factor in future travel policy, according to the report.
- Mutual recognition: The international acceptance of vaccines, COVID-19 tests and proof of vaccination certificates determines which travelers can easily access business destinations.
- Variant prevalence and hospitalization rates: As different countries experience variant outbreaks, business travel will likely adapt to avoid high-risk areas.
- Testing accessibility: Testing availability and cost will play a role in budgeting for and executing safe travel for employees.
The experts from the World Health Organization predict that COVID-19 will become endemic, as noted by the report. Preparing for COVID-19 as the pandemic nears the end of its second year still remains a priority for business travel.