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Business Travel Decline Due To COVID And Environmental Concerns

by Simone Semprini, CEO & Co-Founder, TourScanner

A few months after the world discovered the first Coronavirus case in China, a general lockdown has completely changed the lives of billions of people. It was a surreal situation with over one billion people confined at home.

Effect of the lockdown in the travel industry.

The measures to prevent the spreading of the virus induced a global reduction of the travel demand. International traveling was forbidden in most countries in the world, and even domestic trips were not allowed in several countries.

The number of flights in the United States was reduced by over 70% in April, seven times more than the impact of the financial crisis of 2008. The decline of business travel has been a significant factor.

According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, corporate travel is worth $1.4 trillion and it accounts for 21% of the global travel and hospitality industry. The two largest markets are the United States and China.

Environmental concerns.

One of the results of the lockdown was the reduction of pollution. The global pandemic has induced a substantial reduction in fuel consumption. Most of the highly polluting human activities were stopped, air and water in cities became cleaner while animals started to appear in urban areas.

It is no secret that transportation is a sector that generates pollution and CO2 emissions. The transportation sector accounts for about 30% of the total energy consumption of the world. Of course, part of it is correlated with business activities, including daily commuting and business trips.

More companies than ever before are including environmental indicators to their economic and financial indicators in order to reduce their environmental impact. The reduction of the business trips of their employees goes in that direction.

Remote working and remote meetings.

The global lockdown, due to the pandemic, has forced companies to digitize their operations. Video conferences have replaced personal meetings and daily or weekly commuting has suddenly disappeared. Companies became temporarily fully remote.

Will it stay like this in the future? Nobody knows for sure. However, it’s easy to guess that some companies will not go back to the previous situation.

At TourScanner, we have always promoted a fully remote approach for our travel company. All employees can decide where to work and where to live. In this way, we can reduce the time spent in commuting, reduce the environmental impact of our activity, optimize living costs and improve our work-life balance.

In the future, there will be more companies working fully or partially remote. Companies will push employees to opt for virtual meetings instead of business trips.

Decline of conferences.

Most of the major conferences, exhibitions and trade events in the world have been canceled or postponed. Some events turned to digital, but business events don’t offer better opportunities than a video call without personal networking.

Business travel: a long recovery ahead.

As pointed out by McKinsey, corporate travel is a major revenue source for many airlines and hotel chains. Moreover, profitability is also much higher compared to leisure travel. Several travel companies that are very exposed to corporate travel can expect to see difficult times in the years ahead.

The analysis of the recovery of the travel industry from the previous financial crisis has shown that the seICPS organises a range of training programmes, conferences and policy discussions to address current public policy issues on an international stage. The leisure travel sector recovers quicker than corporate travel.

The Coronavirus has triggered a global change for corporate travel. Considering the pandemic, the environmental concerns and the shift to remote meetings, it’s not difficult to see that the future of business travel does not look bright.

 

Simone Semprini co-founded TourScanner, the leading platform for unique experiences enabling users to carry out price comparisons on must-see and must-do attractions across the globe, making them accessible to everyone, everywhere. Boasting extensive experience in technology, engineering, and research, Simone coordinates the TourScanner team, leading the strategy, business, fundraising, administration, and product management departments.

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