Although New Zealand leads the way when it comes to domestic business travel recovery, South Africa claims the second place in the race to recovery, reaching up to 25% of pre-COVID travel volumes.
New Zealand is seeing the strongest recovery with domestic travel reaching 80% of pre-COVID volumes, followed by South Africa and France at 25%. South America and the Nordics reached between 15% and 20% recovery, while the US and Switzerland remain constrained with between just 1% and 10% recovery.
This was revealed in a white paper, A fresh approach in a new world. What does it look like?, released by FCM this week to mark the travel management company’s global rebrand. The white paper examines the current state of the travel market across all their regions and the challenges facing corporate travel in 2021, including government restrictions, lack of content availability, a tightening of approval processes, stringent health requirements and a hesitancy to travel.
Andrew Stark, MD Flight Centre Group Middle East and Africa, explains that many companies globally are adopting a ‘wait-and-see’ approach, wanting to gauge how other organisations are planning to return to travel. “South African companies are bolder in their approach and have shown a definite appetite for travel. Once the vaccine is more widely available, we expect to see a further stabilisation of the numbers,” he says.
The biggest catalyst for growing travel volumes internationally will be to stabilise market confidence, which will be dependent on a combination of vaccines, health passports and an overall desire to ‘get back on the road’.
Steve Norris, Corporate Managing Director EMEA, Flight Centre Travel Group, believes that tangible green shoots for corporate travel will follow a return in overseas leisure travel, which will make broader corporate travel feel more palatable and safer. “In the UK, we’re projecting to reach our recovery targets by late September and into October, and we’ll continue to support our travellers in establishing their comfort levels for return to travel throughout,” he says.
Stark and Norris join FCM leaders from Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Australasia and the Americas as together they unpack recovery rates around the world; traveller confidence; the current needs of travel managers, bookers and decision makers; duty of care; sustainability; and FCM’s vision for the future.
An approach, captured in the white paper, which invests in new plug-and-play technology and platform upgrades to improve and enhance the user experience – while tackling disruption in the market.
“We’re creating a new TMC for a new world,” says Stark. “Agility, flexibility, market-leading tech and a smooth traveller experience are at the heart of FCM’s rebrand.”
The coronavirus left “business as usual” in the past. Office culture has been replaced by a workforce operating from home. Businesses with ambitious growth plans have adjusted their vision to focus on retention and recovery for the foreseeable future. And digitalisation has taken centre stage in a post-COVID world. Priorities have changed – and so has the pace.