Recovery could be quick for corporate but only 23% of Canadians saying yes to air travel

TORONTO — Corporate travel worldwide could recover fairly quickly once the pandemic is contained, but at least here in Canada, only 23% of people say they would feel comfortable boarding an airplane in the immediate aftermath of COVID-19, according to two new surveys.

The Leger poll, conducted online April 24 – 26, asked Canadians about their comfort level with a range of activities once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. Some 23% said they would feel comfortable with air travel. Polling lower was 21% for attending large gatherings like concerts and sports events. Polling higher were dining out (45%), shopping (53%) and returning to workplaces (85%).

The same poll found that 60% of Canadians said they favoured mandatory COVID1-19 vaccination if and when a vaccine is developed. The other 40% said they favoured voluntary vaccination. The poll was developed by Leggier with the Association for Canadian Studies and garnered responses from some 1,515 Canadians.

Meanwhile the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) says there’s reason for optimism, and hope for recovery, for corporate travel.

The GBTA’s latest poll, conducted across the globe April 17 – 22 with 1,557 of GBTA’s members responding, found that most companies are planning a recovery for 2020, with one in three planning for a recovery in three months or less.

“The global business travel industry remains at a standstill, but we are finally beginning to see some light at the end of this very long tunnel,” says GBTA CEO Scott Solombrino.  “GBTA members are planning their post-coronavirus recovery plans and most expect to be operational in 2020. This is a positive sign. The majority of GBTA member companies expect domestic business travel to resume in the next 2-3 months and most expect employees will be willing to travel. We have waited a long time for there to be optimism around the pandemic in our industry, and it should continue to grow as we get closer to halting the spread of this disease.”

Key findings include:

. Most companies are planning a recovery plan in 2020. One-third (35%) of GBTA members say they plan for their company’s post-coronavirus recovery plan in three months or less, while a quarter (27%) say they plan for a post-recovery in 6-8 months. One in 10 are planning for recovery in 2021, while one in four (28%) say they do not know.

. Among GBTA members who report their company has canceled at least some domestic business trips, six in 10 (62%) say they expect domestic travel to resume in the next 2-3 months. One in five report they expect domestic travel to resume in the next 6-8 months (18%) or are unsure (19%).

. Two-thirds of GBTA members in North America expect international travel to resume in 2-3 months (26%) or 6-8 months (38%).

. A majority of GBTA members (88%) expect employees will be willing to travel once restrictions are lifted. GBTA members from North America (90%) are more likely than members from Europe (83%) to expect their employees will be willing to travel after restrictions are lifted.

. GBTA members say they will be looking for many measures before giving the OK for employees to travel again: a decline in new infection rates (92%), governments lifting travel restrictions or advisories (91%), guidelines or statements from public health agencies  such as the WHO or CDC (90%), effective anti-viral treatments (89%), removing stay-at-home lockdowns (88%), a coronavirus vaccine developed and available to employees (85%), advice from a risk management firm/consultant and other companies allowing travel (49%).

. When asked about layoffs/furloughs in the corporate travel industry, four in 10 feel the worst has already happened (42%) while an equal number feel the worst has yet to come (41%). GBTA members in North America are more likely to feel the worst has already happened when it comes to layoffs and furloughs (47%) compared to members based in Europe (30%).


With file from The Canadian Press

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