Business takes off as travel restrictions come down

Business travellers took to the skies in numbers after the Government loosened travel restrictions this month, early indications suggest.

Data from a number of Travel Management Companies last week reveals that 85 per cent booked flights in the week of June 29 – July 3. Marine/offshore and energy was the sector travelling the most,  with 23 per cent booking. This was followed closely by construction and engineering.

While Heathrow was the most commonly booked destination as a hub for regional airports; western Europe topped final destinations and Aberdeen-London was the most frequently booked route.

The results came via first Covid-19 Recovery Survey from Focus Travel Partnership. They also found that 73 per cent booked accommodation; 33 per cent booked rail; 48 per cent booked car hire or chauffeur-driven vehicles and 18 per cent booked other forms of travel including channel crossings.

While over a fifth of TMC clients booked marine/offshore and energy, 21 per cent booked personnel in construction and engineering and 15 per cent booked from the financial and banking industries and 13 per cent in manufacturing and technology.

Eight per cent reported booking those in the entertainment, sport and music sectors and a similar number reported clients using them for personal and private trips. Thirteen per cent were in a range of other sectors including defence, medical, charity and retail.

The Focus Travel Partnership survey ranked the destinations booked: Heathrow,Amsterdam, Aberdeen, Manila, Houston, Paris, Manchester and Istanbul.

These are encouraging and show a strong resurgence for clients as border control restrictions loosen

In addition, the most commonly booked overseas regions, if channel tunnel and ferries are also taken into account, were Western Europe; North America and the Middle East.

The class split was mainly Economy (91%) which fits the traditional marine business with the remaining nine per cent split over Premium Economy, Business and even some First Class bookings.

Fifty-four per cent of respondents said that they expect initial growth to be for Europe and 33 per cent believed the UK would be the first to recover. Nearly half believed that quarantine measures had and are having a major impact on business travel.

Abby Penston, CEO of Focus Travel Partnership said: “These are encouraging and show a strong resurgence for clients as border control restrictions loosen. The crisis is far from over as reports of resurgent cases and localised lockdowns testify. But our survey shows that there is both demand and that partners are adaptable in the face of change.”