Recent research by travel industry organization ANVR among customers of business travel organizing companies shows that once the travel restrictions are lifted, the business travel market will show a rapid recovery, but it will change. For example, due to the digital alternatives that have been (re)discovered, travel will not be shorter, but less, with the company paying more attention to more sustainable travel, CO2 compensation and more care for the health of the traveling employee. This represents a great challenge for the business travel organizing companies affiliated with ANVR.

ANVR recently conducted a survey among more than 200 business travelers, employees of multinationals and SME entrepreneurs, and clients of business travel organizing companies affiliated with the ANVR, the so-called TMCs (Travel Management Companies). The findings of the ANVR study are in line with international studies: if restrictions are lifted, both by the Netherlands and by recipient countries, business travel will quickly return. The importance of doing business abroad is evident for the economic development of the Netherlands. Business trips are indispensable here.

Research shows that especially the travel restrictions (69%), which are applied by the Netherlands and destination countries, are currently the biggest bottleneck for restarting the business travel market. Business travelers can already travel to many destinations, especially if they are fully vaccinated. 23% see the bottleneck in health related to the risk of corona and only 7% indicate that the digital possibilities are a reason to carry out fewer business trips. Once these travel restrictions are lifted, 81% expect a short-term (0-2 year) recovery, while 19% expect it to take a little longer.

For the time being, 55% expect to travel less, with the use of digital options being the main reason for 78%. This sentiment could change quickly if restrictions are lifted. A majority do not expect major changes in personal contact.

When people go on a business trip again, there is a need to make the trip more sustainable, according to the research. About 1/3 of the respondents would then like to do more about CO2 compensation, more sustainable transport and more care for the health of the business traveler. Nearly 80% expect to go on business trips for as long as they did before COVID-19. With these developments, 65% see a (different) role for the TMCs; they consider knowledge, advice and expertise to be indispensable. For 31% of the business travelers surveyed, the TMC only arranges the journey and is not expected to change, according to ANVR.

"We see a cautious start to recovery at the TMCs in the business travel market within Europe. But for recovery to distant destinations, the current travel restrictions will first have to be relaxed. The ANVR therefore calls on the cabinet to do this, because it is also possible. now, because the travel sector will have to do without government support measures from October 1. Then recovery can go quickly, although that is not 'just' back to the old situation. In view of the need, more attention will be paid to Duty of Care and sustainability; a role that the business travel agent can perfectly fulfill."

Frank Oostdam, chairman of the ANVR.
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