Spotlight on International Travel

On April 19, 2021, the US Department of State’s Travel Advisory announced that 80% of countries were designated with a Level 4: Do Not Travel advisory rating. 1 Even in those countries where essential business travel is permitted, restrictions and requirements are hampering business travelers. Depending on the country, state or locale, quarantine requirements vary widely, as do testing requirements.

For large corporations looking to increase global business travel, it spells more of the same workarounds to in-person meetings and conferences — virtual meetings and business conducted via video conferencing. Global business travel spending in 2020 dropped by 61%, from $1.29 trillion USD spent in 2019 to a mere $504 billion in 2020. 2 Even domestically, business travel has taken a sizable hit. US business travel spending dropped from nearly $348 billion in 2019 to just $103 billion in 2020, 3 a 70% dip in business trips.

Internationally, despite the State Department warnings, some countries are welcoming US travelers. In April 2021, the European Union announced plans to allow vaccinated Americans to travel to EU countries under certain conditions. 4

Stay or Go?

That opening up of borders, despite US travel warnings, could put corporations in the driver’s seat when it comes to business travel. Business will be the driving force in how quickly business travel resumes, and at what level. For some businesses, remote meetings could make the most sense. However, the organizations that benefit most from in-person meetings will likely be resuming travel, and potentially seeking ways to lobby foreign governments into easing restrictions or speeding reopening.

That also means understanding how to protect both employees and travel budgets in an unpredictable, shifting environment. NFP travel specialists understand the requirements in each port of entry, locale and country. NFP can provide answers to questions such as: Are your employees going to need to quarantine? Will current trip insurance adequately protect your company from canceled or delayed travel?

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  1. “Travel Advisory Updates,” Office of the Spokesperson, US Department of State, 2021;
  2. “Business Tourism Spending Worldwide from 2000 to 2020,” Statistica Research Department, 2021;
  3. “Travel: The Hardest-Hit US Industry,” US Travel Association, 2021;
  4. LaToya Harding. “Travel stocks rally as EU set to welcome vaccinated American tourists this summer,” Yahoo Finance, Verizon Media, 2021;