Since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, business travel has ground to a halt. Client meetings and business conferences have been moved to Zoom. As a result of the growing world of video conferencing, business travel could be negatively impacted in the long term.

Some of the world’s biggest business conferences have been cancelled or postponed, meanwhile in-person meetings have become virtually non-existent. This has led to a significant decline in business travel, something that could go on to have a devastating impact on the companies that operate within the segment.

The head of the Business Travel Association (BTA), Clive Wratten, has warned the corporate travel sector faces a “bleak” autumn and winter with most businesses not looking to restart travel until the end of the year. He blames the increasingly uncertain travel advice issued by the British government, which has damaged confidence in the industry.

According to GlobalData figures, inbound global MICE travel in 2020 will fall to just 44.2 million, a year-on-year decline of 23.7 million. Meanwhile, other business travel has fallen to 75 million, an extraordinary decrease of 41.4 million. These figures highlight the devastating impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had on the business travel segment.

There could be a high number of job losses

The BTA has warned 10,000 jobs could go at travel management companies (TMCs). Meanwhile, ABTA has revealed that 39,000 jobs have already been lost or placed at risk across the outbound travel sector since the COVID-19 crisis started.

The situation is set to worsen with 78% of businesses yet to enter redundancy conversations but expecting to do so in the coming months based on current trading conditions. ABTA states that the final redundancy figure could be as high as 90,000.

These figures are obvious cause for concern and companies operating within the business travel sector will be eager to get things back to normal as soon as possible. However, the ongoing pandemic combined with the growing popularity of virtual meetings, makes the road to recovery very difficult for companies operating within the segment.

This growing concern has led to increased pressure on the British government to put measures in place to prevent more redundancies and business closures. Measures such as regional travel restrictions could well be put in place, however, the government may be reluctant to provide financial aid after already spending big to support other parts of the economy.

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