Monday, August 4, 2014

International Travel Grows, Safety Still a Concern

© Lowe
The New York Times reports that while international corporate business travel may be booming, the industry at large faces a turbulent period of new challenges in travel safety. The Global Business Travel Association has predicted that spending on business travel would rise about 7% in 2014. At the trade group's annual convention in Los Angeles, discussions centered on this increase in travel and the array of considerations required to keep traveling employees safe.

International events in recent weeks have cast the risks of travel in a stark light. These events include the recent downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 in Ukraine and other recent deadly plane crashes elsewhere; the halting of air routes in the Middle East for fear of ground combat; and the suspension of some flights to Israel.

John Rose, chief operating officer of iJet, a travel risk management company, puts it succinctly. “I’ve been at this 28 years," Rose says. "This is the greatest concentration of threat that I’ve ever seen, because of the frequency and severity of these incidents, but also because companies and institutions are global now.”

Common consensus agreed that companies must keep track of their traveling employees and implement adequate protections to meet duty of care requirements and avoid legal issues. The intricacies of international travel dwarf those of domestic travel, and the former are constantly shifting by nature.

“In the old days, it was Chicago to New York, New York to Los Angeles,” says Michael McCormick, executive director of the Global Business Travel Association. “Now, in a sense, every company is global, and they’re sending their travelers all over the world to do business.”