Travel came to a complete halt in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, when uncertainty was at its peak and nations closed their borders. During lockdowns seen globally, only essential business and diplomatic travel were given priority through special lanes.
Amidst all the chaos, COVID-19 testing came to the fore as a way to manage health risks and help control the spread of the virus.
Topping many of our wish lists for 2022 is the opportunity to travel internationally again. After so much uncertainty over the past two years, many of us can’t wait to experience the joy of travel. However, safety is still a top priority and as a result, COVID-19 travel testing will remain a key component of travel - be it rapid testing kits or fully-fledged PCR tests, Covid-19 testing is still a fundamental element for many markets globally to bridge the gap between the present health risks and the need for travel - especially where a traveller may not be vaccinated.
Business travel in 2022: Long haul or short?
Collinson, a global end-to-end travel experiences, airport services, and travel medical company, and CAPA, Centre for Aviation, a global market intelligence provider for the travel and aviation industry, have recently released the second edition of the Asia Pacific Travel Recovery Report. Featuring survey responses from 400 C-suite senior manager level aviation and travel experts from 68 countries and leading global brands, the report provides an in-depth review of the changing travel and aviation landscape giving an insight into what to expect in 2022.
The report revealed that while the Asia Pacific region was the first to be hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, industry experts expect it to be the last to emerge. Though it’s true APAC is likely to recover more slowly than other regions, there have been recent positive steps towards reopening in many APAC markets over the past few weeks, including updates from Bali, Cambodia, Vietnam, Singapore.
Though leisure travel is likely to rebound once borders reopen, the Collinson x CAPA research, in Asia Pacific found that experts are expecting business travel to take a little longer - with just 24% seeing short-haul corporate travel recovering to more than 61% of 2019 levels in 2022 – and 7% see demand reaching four-fifths of 2019 levels this year.
Long-haul business travel remains the furthest from reach. According to 86% of global respondents, less than two-thirds of the long-haul business/corporate travel market will be back in 2022. Whilst in the Asia Pacific, just under a third (30%) of survey respondents believe that we won’t even reach 20% of 2019 levels in 2022.
In terms of trends, when we look at COVID testing, the survey found that more than half (54%) believe COVID-19 testing protocols will remain key to re-opening borders until the end of 2022, with a further 26% expecting this to continue until the end of 2023.
Will COVID-19 testing continue to be important?
If 2021 was the year of the vaccine, 2022 should be the year of testing. Until the pre-pandemic global confidence in travel is restored, safe and efficient testing is the cautious way forward. The UK has relaxed testing requirements as long as you’re fully vaccinated, but this is not the story for every country. For a high number of markets, testing remains key to making travel possible again. This is particularly true for the Asia Pacific region.
In the report by Collinson and CAPA, over 54% of the respondents expect COVID-19 testing protocols until the end of 2022. About 26% of the respondents expect this to continue until the end of 2023.
To build a safer and more accessible travel ecosystem, global travel experts believe that COVID-19 testing will only increase in importance as the borders start reopening by working with testing providers like Collinson to make testing more easily available for the passengers.
Looking to better support your customers with seamless access to COVID-19 travel testing – or need to ensure you’re meeting your corporate duty of care requirements for your travelling employees?
Click here to learn how Collinson can support you – with everything from COVID-19 travel testing to travel risk management, ISO 31030 consultation and medical assistance services.