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High-risk travel rise

UK business travellers made more visits to high-risk places overseas in the first half of 2015 compared to the same months in 2014, a firm says. In the first half of 2015, business travellers made 2,477,105 visits to destinations that experienced level three security incidents, as defined by Collinson Group, compared to 1,634,840 a year earlier. Category three includes attempted coups and serious terrorist attacks or natural disasters.

While some high-risk countries are known war zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan, others include Nigeria, Tunisia, Pakistan and Ukraine. In the first half of 2015, a total of 41 countries registered level three incidents, mostly Middle Eastern, North African and sub-Saharan African countries.

According to the analysis of official ONS Travelpac data, Tunisia saw the largest increase in business travel visits – up 362pc in the first half of 2015 compared to the same period in 2014. At the same time Tunisia has also seen a steep rise in security risks, where terrorist activity gave rise to three level three alerts in the period January to June 2015, compared with zero for the same period in 2014.

Two other countries that have seen big growth in the number of business travellers are Egypt and Israel. Collinson Group’s recently launched 360 Assistance portal provides medical and security advice and emergency response for corporate travellers; it puts Yemen tops the list of countries experiencing the most serious level three security incidents. Threats range across air strikes, car bombs and kidnapping.

However, in an indication of the fast-changing nature of global events, a number of countries perceived as being traditionally less risky also received level three alerts in the first half of 2015: such as Denmark, France, Macedonia and the United States.

The company says that it’s advising employers to review their corporate travel policies and consider what mechanisms they have in place to respond to a broadening array of emergency scenarios; from the increasingly less geographically biased nature of terrorism to other factors that can pose a threat to traveller security – such as lone travellers to more unfamiliar destinations.

Mark Rands, Head of Assistance at Collinson Group, said: “The world remains a challenging place for business travellers, both in countries we might associate as being more inherent with risk but also in those we tend to not think twice aboutWith the demand and requirement for business travel remaining high, information and preparation are key.

“Firms must focus on ensuring their travelling staff have ready access to information and guidance that is relevant to high impact events as well as their specific travel itineraries and individual circumstances to protect the safety and wellbeing of these employees both pre-journey and in-travel. We have designed our 360 Assistance service to cater exactly for these demands, providing users with an end-to-end range of services and tools to manage business travel effectively whatever the destination.”


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