In the news: the next steps for business travel

It has been a fortnight of change. The gradual reintroduction of larger meetings, conferences and events, which had been scheduled to begin from October 1, is now on hold. And for many, plans to return to the office have been reversed –at least for the next six months. So with progress seemingly rolled back, is it possible to be optimistic for the future of business travel?

For all the more negative headlines of late, there are numerous examples that the industry has not lost forward momentum. In our latest news round-up, we look at the next steps for business travel in securing its future.

A voice for the industry in parliament

This month saw the formation of an All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) dedicated to the business travel sector. At the first meeting, key industry speakers called for an extension of the government furlough scheme, Business Rate relief and development and approval for traveller testing, as well as the temporary suspension of Air Passenger Duty.

Full story here.

A strong desire to resume in-person meetings

FCM published the State of the Market Report 2020. The findings indicate that for many businesses, virtual alternatives are not a long-term option, and there is a real desire to resume in-person meetings and other business activities as soon as possible. Of the 2,500 corporate travellers, travel managers and bookers surveyed, 87% wanted a return to travel to secure new business and 84% to manage existing customer relationships.

Full story here.

A step closer to rapid testing

Passenger testing for COVID-19 at airports is pressing forward, with the IATA identifying it as essential for the recovery of corporate travel. The IATA is working with the Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to develop a low-cost test that can be administered before departure and provide results within 15 minutes.

Full story here.

Air bridge to kick-start international travel

Progress with rapid testing has significant implications for international travel. Business leaders are calling on the government to establish a UK-US air bridge to allow for safe, tested travel between cities like London and New York, as concern mounts over the feasibility of conducting business-critical activities remotely.

Full story here.

Greater uptake of touchless technology

While operators are introducing the zero-contact stay concept at serviced accommodation, elsewhere the uptake of other touchless technologies is increasing. Car hire can now be done remotely using an app to place a reservation and a Smartbox collection point to pick up the keys.

Next year, contactless boarding will be available on Eurostar. The accelerated pre-boarding option will combine facial-verification technology and a document scanning app to confirm the identity of passengers, streamlining the boarding process.

Full story here.

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