South African business travellers have started travelling into Africa while adopting a wait and see policy with international destinations according to FCM Travel Solutions.
“After months of shutdown and remote working, the reopening of borders for business travel is a very welcome development for multinationals and large enterprises. They can now finally embark upon the road to recovery, resume on-site operations and reconnect with their offices around Africa,” says Bonnie Smith, General Manager FCM Travel Solutions.
Destinations that are proving popular include Kenya, Botswana and Zambia. “Also, Mozambique and Ghana have seen a revival when it comes to business travel from South Africa,”
Smith explains we can expect travel to other international destinations to take longer to recover. “Although government has reopened the borders to the entire world for business travel, travellers are still reluctant to venture outside Africa,” she says.
“It’s one thing for government to say travel is permitted again and to lift the travel restrictions, but travellers also need to want to go, airlines need to resume operations and destination countries need to be ready to welcome South African travellers again.”
State of the Market Survey
To better understand the prevailing sentiments on business travel conditions as countries emerge from the COVID-19 crisis, FCM Travel Solutions recently launched a global ‘State of the Market’ survey.
The results of the survey show that although lifting of border restrictions is an important trigger to resume business travel, the majority of businesses will take a phased approach to resume domestic and international business travel over the next 12 months. Only half of the respondents believe that their business travel volumes will reach pre-coronavirus levels in the near term.
Smith explains that even during lockdown, FCM continued to provide essential travel arrangements within South Africa for companies from a wide range of industries, including mining; wholesale trade; healthcare and social assistance; electricity and waste services; construction; scientific and technical services; and manufacturing.
Frameworks and Hubs
“Working with so many industries during this pandemic has allowed us to formulate thorough travel risk strategies for different sectors. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for companies during these times,” says Smith. “To help provide direction for companies, FCM has developed a Return to Travel Framework to empower customers to take confident action when it comes to resuming business travel.
Over the past few months, the corporate brands under the Flight Centre Travel Group umbrella have created resources such as the Traveller Information Hub that will help their customers get back on the road safely and with the necessary peace of mind.
This hub contains the latest air, hotel, and border updates from across the globe; an interactive map to help travellers assess their destination’s risk profile; and chatbot assistance for any possible questions.