Whether you are travelling abroad for business or for leisure, it is important to consider the potential threats you may encounter. This especially applies if your organisation operates across varying locations. The health, safety and security of your workforce is paramount - even in low-risk destinations.
The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly affected how business and individuals perceive travel. We began with high travel anxiety but over time, travel risk management regulations have considerably reduced travel anxiety and increased confidence in travellers. Additionally, entry requirements in most countries have been relaxed.
It is also very important than in these times, as well as times of crisis, that your employees are protected. Recent global events highlight this importance. However, there are also other risks that you should be aware of that may affect travellers.
Get ‘CLOSER’ to knowing potential travel threats
To assist you, we have identified 5 travel threats you should be aware of when visiting low risk destinations. The ‘CLOSER’ approach ensures your travel risk management to low-risk destinations is the best it can be:
Cyber threats pose a risk especially as global digitalisation continue to advance. This is becoming one of the biggest global threats we face.
Business travellers face the more advanced and brazen cyber criminals trying to exploit individuals and workforces.
Phishing campaigns, the impact of social media, behavioural influencing and profiling also pose a threat to businesses and countries. Coupled with the potential impact of state actors and the continued increasing use of technology in business and travel, the challenges facing business travellers are evolving on an almost daily basis.
We have reported before in our Travel Risk Outlook that only less than a third of organisations include cybersecurity in their travel risk management policies.
In 2022 alone, we have seen a spate of logistical interruptions at international transport hubs across the globe.
Industrial action, visa control, quarantine and testing procedures have resulted in lengthy delays. These logistical challenges have also impacted how people travel to and from low-risk destinations.
What happens then, in the event of a crisis? Corporate travellers and tourists may be required to act quickly based on the safest action advised by the authorities. For example, if the advice is to leave a country or an area then this could be extremely challenging depending on logistics and restrictions.
Since the pandemic, there has been an upsurge of unemployment, austerity measures and inflation. The pandemic has exacerbated already fragile socioeconomic environments in some of the hardest hit countries. Coupled with the cost-of-living and energy & climate crises, the situation continues to be challenging and has led to an uptick in activism and, in some instances, civil unrest.
The cost-of-living crisis engulfing the globe has the potential to significantly contribute to increases in protest activity and anti-government sentiment which exacerbate the travel threats to individuals travelling abroad as well as the businesses operating internationally.
These threats underline the importance of preparedness, of research into the locations to be visited and understanding what actions to take to minimise the risks posed by such events and what to do in the event of an incident.
Civil unrest can occur at any time, and should it happen, an experienced Assistance Provider can help with the risk response.
Climate change is a concern affecting the global population. From flooding, bush fires, tropical storms, and hurricanes, our ability to travel freely, both domestically and internationally is impacted.
Understanding and preparing for such events is critical both at an organisational and individual level. Knowing what risks, you may be exposed to (which can be seasonal and geographically focussed in nature and location, so allow for some prior planning) and what to do in the event of an incident is key.
With a changing environmental landscape, it is essential that travellers and organisations recognise this will be an enduring threat that needs to be dealt with, and one that will continue to affect the ability to move freely both within and across borders.
Unexpected travel threats place pressure on emergency resources. Since the pandemic, some countries have seen their resources placed under greater pressure. This shortfall may impact the efforts of services responsible for the safety of the international and domestic travelling population.
For example, is access to on-the-ground support and to information and analysis to inform early decision making readily available in the event of a crisis?
Although response times and access to support are vital, it is also important to ensure that when there is a requirement to respond, organisations and individuals are well placed to manage these situations within the parameters of their safety.
How we can support you
Engaging with an experienced Assistance Provider like International SOS gives you peace-of-mind.
Whether you are travelling for business or leisure, our network of 13,000 health and security professionals can advise you accordingly. If you want to find out more about your preparations for travel, you may find our pre-trip travel tips helpful.
We have a Workforce Resilience programme that provides employees and organisations access to an unsurpassed safety and security services including evacuation service. By downloading our Assistance App you can have access to safety and security advice, and to our network of dedicated experts.