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Travel risk report

The perception of risk to travelling business people remains elevated. While organisations are increasingly implementing prevention and mitigation measures there are still opportunities for improvement, as major strategic aspects are being missed. That is according to the Ipsos MORI Global Business Resilience Trends Watch 2018 survey, now in its second year.

The survey found that travel plans were changed, mainly due to concerns over security threats (58pc), next by natural disasters (43pc). This was consistent across the globe, apart from the Americas where natural disasters was first and security threats second. At a global level these are followed by country risk ratings (42pc) and civil unrest (34pc).

A majority, 63pc of business decision-makers perceive travel risks to have increased in the past year, reflecting a global softening from 72pc in the previous year. However, the Americas and Australasia regions stand out with 78pc and 72pc respectively reporting increased risk in 2017. Risk rating changes on the latest edition of the Travel Risk Map, by the medical and security emergency response company International SOS and consultancy Control Risks, include increase risk in some areas of the Caribbean and Puerto Rico due to the effects of the hurricanes; and a decrease in risk in some European countries thanks to improved standards of medical care.

While the preventative agenda in medical and travel risk mitigation is on the rise, the firms report, the survey suggests that a strategic and far-reaching view may be a missed opportunity by many organisations. Only 9pc of organisations updated their sustainability programme to include their travel risk policy and just 10pc introduced a well-being policy, falling at the bottom of the risk mitigation techniques implemented in 2017.

Dr Doug Quarry, Group Medical Director of Health Intelligence for International SOS, Medical Director of Information and Analysis for International SOS, says: “A staggering 91pc of organisations have potentially not included their travel risk programme in their overall business sustainability programme and 90pc are seemingly ignoring the impact a well-being policy could have on their travelling workforce. This is despite an increasing understanding of how these techniques can impact within the context of the GRI Index.”

Rob Walker at International SOS and Control Risks, adds: “Success in future global mobility programmes will be those that include consideration of the changing demographic of the mobile workforce and new marketplace dynamics, including the increase in use of shared economy services. The immediate obvious risks, such as the recent hurricanes and unforeseeable security incidents, will see organisations scrutinised in terms of preventative measures and recovery.”

Organisations continue to introduce risk mitigation techniques. The most frequent step taken in response to travel health and security concerns is the introduction of pre-trip and during trip emails, with 39pc of decision makers reporting to have introduced this in 2017. However, organisations still face barriers in ensuring the health and security of travellers, with educating employees about travel risk (53pc) the most common challenge in ensuring the health and security of travellers, followed by communicating with employees in a crisis, and ensuring they have read pre-travel information (both 44pc).

Dr Quarry adds: “As threats, such as the plague in Madagascar, can be fast moving, timely insight is critical to travellers and organisations to avoid potentially disastrous consequences. It is promising to see that risk mitigation techniques are being prioritised, including annual health check up’s, which can be key to spotting any potential health issues that need managing prior to travel or assignments. As organisations continue to review and enhance their processes, it is important that new actions to promote a safe, healthy and well workforce are taken into account to help support and strengthen business resilience.”

View the Travel Risk Map at

International SOS and Control Risks will host webinars based on the key global issues and emerging trends in December; open to the public; you can register at


Global Business Resilience Trends Watch is an Ipsos Mori research study among 667 business decision-makers, across all types of organisations which have had previous contact relating to business travel health and security with International SOS, across 69 countries. Research was conducted online in the period October 4 to 20, 2017. Respondents were those who organise, influence or are responsible for their organisation’s travel and risk mitigation policies. Security professionals accounted for 17pc of the sample, with HSE and HR staffers comprising the next biggest segments, on 15pc each. Definitions of travel security and medical risk ratings are available at

Picture by Mark Rowe; Gare du Nord station, Paris.


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