COPENHAGEN — A recent poll conducted by the Association of Corporate Travel Executives shows a majority of international business travellers are only “mildly concerned” about the Ebola threat, while two-thirds of respondents are still confident in governmental agencies to assess and address the Ebola crisis.
The poll was conducted during the association’s ongoing global travel conference in Copenhagen Oct. 19-21. The conference drew participants from 34 countries and leadership from five independent business travel associations, including delegates from Africa.
ACTE Executive Director Greeley Koch said, “The global business travel industry wants fact and resolution as opposed to fear and conjecture where Ebola is concerned. Five hundred delegates registered for this event, including several from Africa, without fear of the Ebola virus. We had no Ebola fear-related cancellations and participation for this event grew right through the first day.”
Koch dismissed a suggestion for temperature-taking booths at the conference as “unnecessary”.
Business travellers are taking Ebola fears in stride, according to survey respondents.
- 47% indicated their travellers showed “mild concern”.
- 26% reported “no concern”.
- 13% said their travellers had “strong concerns”.
- 13% indicated “travellers preferred not to fly to some destinations”.
The ACTE survey revealed that two thirds of conference attendees still support the assessments of agencies like the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Centers For Disease Control (CDC).
- 65% stated they remained confident in international, national and regional health agencies to respond to the Ebola crisis.
- 35% indicated they had lost confidence.
On the subject of restricted travel to countries with the Ebola outbreak:
- 41% reported their companies had restricted travel to Sierra Leone, Guinea, Senegal, or Nigeria.
- 59% cited no travel restrictions.
ACTE conference participants were evenly split on the question of a travel ban.
In response to: Do you think that a travel ban, coupled with an intensified effort to contain, cure, or control the spread Ebola would eliminate a growing travel fear or panic?
- 49% said “Yes”.
- 51% said “No”.
“Corporate travel bans to countries addressing the Ebola outbreak are indicative of a commitment to a duty of care issue, in which companies are liable for the welfare of business travellers, to the point of minimizing every practical risk,” said Koch. He added that positions advocating national travel bans to Ebola outbreak countries are regarded by many as essential to stopping Ebola fears from becoming economic setbacks for the global economy – while a concerted effort is made to cure or stop the virus at its source.
“The lessons of SARS should not be forgotten,” said Koch.