The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) ihas just completed its 2014 Convention 2014. The annual GBTA convention identified two topics high on the agenda for discussion – a surge in international business travel, and the increasingly complex safety and security issues that arise as companies send more employees around the world.
This year’s convention, brought together about 6,700 travel managers, suppliers and other industry professionals, to discuss the new conditions for corporate travel. The convention said that spending on business travel would rise about 7% this year, to roughly $1.18 trillion. Of that about $292.3 billion within the United States, an increase of 3%.
However, GBTA representatives noted intense discussion about travel safety and risk management.
According to Mr John Rose, CEO of iJet, there was a greater concentration of threts to travellers due to the frequency and severity, which is further increased due to the global nature of business travel.
During a workshop, executives from travel security suppliers and emergency response groups were presented with a four-hour training session about safety policies and health issues. The group were able to use two very recent events as participants raised the “Malaysian airliner shot down” and “outbreak of Ebola” incidents.
In an extraordinary turn of events, the recent series of events has forced travel managers to focus more intensely on legal and ethical responsibilities for managing travel risk: the Malaysian airliner shot down by a missile in Ukraine and two other deadly plane crashes elsewhere; the halting of some air routes in the Middle East because of fears about ground combat; and the temporary suspension of some flights to Israel. In addition, the United States evacuated its embassy in Libya; street protests reached a boil in Hong Kong; and, just as disturbing to security managers, an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus was spreading in West Africa.
Increasingly, travel management involves legal issues where the parent employer may face legal questions of “What did you do to protect your traveller?”.