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Lesley's Column

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18th July 2016

Traveller safety on the road

Because they spend so much time on the road, business travellers are more desensitised to the threats that international travel can bring.

Many will argue that traffic accidents pose a greater threat than a terrorist act. Some also convince themselves that they are travel savvy and have a sixth sense that enables them to spot and avoid dangerous situations, an argument that holds little water in the case of random terrorist attacks in busy locations.

Underpinning any bravado is the simple fact that people do what their job expects.

In a recent survey, 31% of travellers said they feel that a reluctance to travel to destinations their companies want them to could hurt their careers. And although half of travellers would feel comfortable discussing safety concerns with their management, only 5% actually have.

Travellers were also asked who is most concerned when they are travelling. Over three-quarters stated family and friends while only 16% name themselves.

Their employer was mentioned by only 1% of respondents and 5% did not know. This highlights the pressure travellers might feel from family – and the concern travellers might have about the stress their travel is having on their family.

Are companies under-estimating the traveller willingness to travel to destinations as a result of acts of terrorism or violent unrest?

Business travellers are more likely to worry about being robbed or mugged than being involved in a terror attack, and the survey upholds that statement with mean scores indicating robbery or mugging is most feared.

Being stranded due to lockdown or curfew scored highly, and an in-flight terror incident or major health risk such as SARS, Ebola or Zika were ranked next.

This is the first time a survey of this type has been conducted and that alone shows how critical duty of care continues to be.