ACTE Survey Shows Business Travel as Usual, Companies Ready to Deal with Pandemic
Sixty-two percent of the survey’s respondents answered “yes” to the question, “Do you currently have a pandemic emergency plan that covers the evacuation or hospitalization of infected travelers in a foreign country facing an outbreak of contagion?” That percentage jumped to 73 percent when respondents also answered “yes” to “Does your company’s pandemic emergency plan provide for the majority of employees to work from home or a remote location in the event of a pandemic in your country of origin?”
“There was concern these might be the same contingency plans developed six years ago, but the survey clearly indicates that this is not the case,” said Gurley. Fifty-eight percent of the respondents reported that their companies have been upgrading these plans on a regular basis. Furthermore, 68 percent stated that travelers and employees are advised of the upgrades every three months. Twenty-four percent said travelers were advised or reminded of the program prior to every trip.
“This represents a substantial improvement over conditions that existed in the industry prior to SARs in 2003,” said Gurley.
Slightly less than half of the poll’s respondents, 47 percent, have restricted business travel but only to Mexico.
- Three percent have restricted travel to the U.S. and Mexico, while, 7 percent are restricting travel to any country with reported cases of H1N1 swine influenza.
- One percent reported restricting travel to the U.S. only.
- Forty-two percent are claiming no travel restrictions at all.
Summation: Excluding travel to Mexico, only 11 percent of respondents cited travel restrictions.
Those percentages undergo a substantial shift when it comes to the cancellation of meetings in which colleagues may be exposed to the H1N1 from the handshakes and sneezes of others during business meetings, however.
- Thirty-seven percent of the survey’s respondents said they were canceling meetings, or restricting travelers from attending meetings, in which they could be exposed to the H1N1 swine influenza through colleagues from countries with reported infections.
- Sixty-three percent reported no change in their meetings program.
Reporting on concern levels expressed by individual business travelers, survey respondents claimed that only 28 percent of business travelers requested a cancellation or postponement of a business trip to a country with reported cases of H1N1 swine influenza.
- Thirty-eight percent reported that traveler concern was only limited to asking about the appropriate precautions that should be taken against the swine influenza while traveling.
- Thirty-four percent cited there was no traveler concern.
“This is an evolving crisis that will be determined by government efforts to contain, cure, and control the H1N1 swine influenza,” said Gurley, “as well as the ongoing impact on the business travel industry and the global economy. ACTE will continue to monitor the situation and to keep the industry informed.”
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