UK business travellers make 52% more trips to high-risk destinations

03 December 2015
New analysis(1) by Collinson reveals a 52% (842,264) increase in the number of visits by UK business travellers to high-risk destinations overseas in the first half of 2015 compared to the same period a year earlier.  In the first half of 2015, business travellers made 2,477,105 visits to destinations that experienced level three(2) security incidents, as identified by Collinson, compared to 1,634,840 a year earlier.  Category three security incidents include attempted coups and terrorist attacks.

High-risk countries which have experienced level three security incidents include Nigeria, Tunisia, Pakistan, Ukraine, Turkey, Egypt and India.  In the first half of 2015, a total of 41 countries registered level three incidents with Middle Eastern, North African and sub-Saharan African countries making up the vast majority.

According to the analysis of ONS Travelpac data, Tunisia saw the largest increase in business travel visits - up 362% 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 witnessed exponential growth in the number of business travellers have also experienced serious security incidents, from car bombs to air strikes: Egypt saw a 60% increase in business travel visits in the first six months of 2015 and Israel saw visits increase 41%.  Both countries have experienced significant category three security incidents in the first half of the year. In addition, British business travellers made 2,852 visits to Pakistan in the first six months of this year, a country that ranks eighth in the world for the number of the highest risk security threats recorded globally in 2015.

Data from Collinson, which provides global security alerts for corporate travellers, reveals Yemen tops the list of countries experiencing the most serious level three security incidents (see below), with threats ranging across air strikes, car bombs and kidnapping. Iraq, Nigeria, Afghanistan and Syria make up the top five.

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. Denmark, France, Macedonia and the US, for instance, all saw level three incidents occur.

Collinson is 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, 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 about visiting. With the demand and requirement for business travel remaining high, information and preparation are key to ensuring employee safety.

"Firms must focus on ensuring their travelling employees 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 their safety and wellbeing both pre-journey and in-travel. We have designed our 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."

To help employers manage their Duty of Care to their travelling employees Collinson has a suite of travel risk management products designed to help employees in any situation and in any time zone around the world through Collinson's extensive global network.

The service features a customised web portal, providing employees with up-to-date medical and security information on over 200 countries and a real-time incident alert service to keep travellers updated while on the move.

Table one: Largest percentage increase in UK overseas business travel H1 2014 versus H1 2015

Rank Country Business traveller visits H1 2014 Business traveller visits H1 2015  Change in business traveller visitis H1 2014 - H1 2015
 1  Tunisia  879 4,059 3,180
 2  Mexico 3,695 13,222 9,527
 3  Lithuania 31,759 61,978 30,219
 4  Thailand 9,442 15,326 5,884
 5  Egypt 9,548 15,226 5,678
 6  Bulgaria 48,116 69,071 20,955
 7  Czech Republic 81,981 117,249 35,268
 8  Israel 21,196 29,944 8,748
 9  Other Caribbean 7,552 10,182 2,631
 10  Irish Republic 574,141 727,651 153,510

Source: Collinson analysis of ONS Travelpac Data

Table two: Change in top-level security alerts in the top 10 at-risk destinations, H1 2014 - H1 2015

Rank  Country Number of level 3 alerts, H1 2014 Number of level 3 alerts, H1 2015  Change, 2014 - 2015
 1  Yemen  6 22 +267%
 2  Iraq 21 19 -10%
 3  Nigeria 16 18 +13%
 4  Afghanistan 5 15 +200%
 5  Syria 9 13 +44%
 6  Somalia 2 7 +250%
 7  Libya 4 6 +50%
 8  Pakistan 4 6 +50%
 9  South Sudan 2 6 +200%
 10  Ukraine 2 4 +100%
   Top 10 countries 71

Source: Collinson

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