How Will Vaccines Impact Business Travel?

Speculation has been rife about what would happen to travel – especially business travel – once vaccine rollout has picked up the pace. Now that nearly 26% of the global population is fully vaccinated, there is light at the end of the tunnel. However, there’s also a more substantial indication of what business travel will look like in the future. Considering this, we can now answer some of the most pressing questions surrounding business travel.

Will There Ever Be A Vaccine Passport?

Early speculators believed there would be a vaccine passport – a globally accepted document – that would make quarantining unnecessary and, possibly, make travelling impossible for those who had not received the vaccine.

However, for a vaccine passport to work, there would need to be broader and equitable access to vaccines. Since this is not possible yet, the fact remains: in most countries, vaccinated travellers need to get tested and quarantined for the prescribed time, making the vaccine passport a long way from being beneficial to business travellers and even longer still to being implemented.

That said, while there isn’t a “vaccine passport,” some countries do allow travellers to forego quarantine if they can provide proof of vaccination.

Is Planning Business Trips in Advance Possible Considering The Increasing Number of New Cases?

According to the World Health Organization, to achieve herd immunity, 80% of the world’s population would need to be vaccinated against COVID. Since less than a third of that target has been reached in the eight months since the vaccine first became available, cases are constantly resurging with countries entering second, third, and fourth waves. These surges make long term travel planning nearly impossible. This is where business travellers have an advantage. While countries may shut their borders to leisure travellers if they find themselves in the grips of a debilitating wave, many countries still choose to keep their borders open to business travellers.

How To Prepare For Business Travel After Vaccination

While the world remains in vaccine limbo – where the answer is within reach but largely unavailable to many – the vaccine hasn’t been as quick of a resolution as many hoped it would be. As a result, the best way to navigate business travel during this transition period is to prepare for what lies ahead.

Ensure Employees Have Documentation Of Being Vaccinated

To benefit from any travel exemptions afforded to vaccinated travellers, ensure your employees have received both vaccinations and have documentation to prove this. You can then keep this information on file or send it to your travel manager so that it is readily available when making travel plans.

Make Travel Insurance Mandatory

To navigate unexpected travel delays, cancellations, and illness due to COVID-19, travel insurance – that includes dedicated policies regarding COVID-19 – will prove vital.

You can discuss your travel insurance needs with your business travel consultant to ensure you have comprehensive coverage against any COVID-19 related incidences.

Track Growing Case Numbers and Past Government Responses

To avoid your travel plans disintegrating because of unexpected lockdowns, track COVID cases of your destination location. Employees can set alerts for articles and data that track and report new cases and lockdowns. With this information available, you can develop contingency plans should changes be made that would affect your business travel plans.

To reduce the burden on employees, having a travel manager will be beneficial. Your travel manager can track travel developments and keep employees abreast of any changes that affect their travel plans. Additionally, your travel manager will be able to develop plans that ensure travel plans aren’t interrupted.

According to data from McKinsey, 2023 is the soonest the world can expect to achieve herd immunity. However, as pointed out in this data, this could either be extended based on several factors, the least of which is emerging new variants. In light of this, developing COVID-specific plans and policies will be a strategic way to approach this period of limbo.

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