Senior corporate travel managers (CTMs) in charge of regional travel programmes say setting a vaccination strategy will require very clear guidelines from the authorities, HR and security advisers.
The buyers, attending an online Corporate Travel Community (CTC) roundtable discussion last week, added that while it is possible to use certificates or QR codes as proof of vaccination, it would take time for a global standard to be recognised and authenticated.
During the discussion, moderated by Benson Tang, CTC’s executive director, CTMs opined that some countries were slower in rolling out their vaccination programmes and had different priorities for the first in line.
The buyer of a US technology company noted the choice to be vaccinated against Covid-19 was a â€śseriousâ€ť and â€śsensitiveâ€ť human rights issue in some countries.
She pointed out employees cannot be forced to be vaccinated because of requirements from airlines and other entities to enable them to travel on business.
Another buyer expressed concern as to how travellers can get vaccinated before getting on a flight and also wondered if a vaccinated person could still be a carrier.
A veteran CTM remarked that â€śnobody knows what form corporate travel will take in the futureâ€ť, and that it’ll be a long road to recovery.
The buyers also shared that ongoing Covid-19 restrictions were throwing up challenges such as employees being stranded due to border closures and taxation issues for the individual and the company.
In preparation for when travel can resume, but with quarantine measures still in place and lasting for up to a month in some countries, a Singapore-based CTM has begun keeping an eye on rising insurance premiums.
CTCâ€™s Tang also shared that Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr at a recent CAPA Live session reported there was a backlog of corporate bookings and once travel can resume, forecasted demand would be very strong.
Michael Kunz, associate partner of Lufthansa Consulting, who attended the CTC roundtable, acknowledged there was pent-up demand and cited easyJet’s advance bookings were â€ś250 per cent versus a normal year with travel in summer moving to autumn and winter this yearâ€ť.