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Global Travel Soars Amid Evolving Risk Landscape: A Call for Enhanced Risk Management

Global travel has regained momentum, marked by significant fluctuations throughout 2023. International SOS highlights the need for enhanced risk management strategies for travellers and organisations.

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Global travel has regained momentum, marked by significant fluctuations throughout 2023. While the overall trajectory indicates a rebound, the evolving global landscape raises concerns about the increasing complexity of risks that travellers and organisations need to navigate. International SOS, the world's leading health and security risk services company, highlights the need for enhanced risk management strategies for travellers and organisations.

International SOS data revealed a 59% increase in international travel and 48.4% increase in domestic travel October 2023, compared to the beginning of the year.1 These findings align with a recent report from The International Air Transport Association (IATA), emphasising the resurgence of global travel. According to IATA, global air traffic reached 97.3% of pre-COVID levels at the end of 2023.2 With the holiday season quickly approaching, IATA anticipates that this trend will continue into the New Year, despite economic and political uncertainties in parts of the world.

Michael Rogers, Chief Security Analyst at International SOS said
The resurgence in global travel comes at a time in which the travel security landscape is increasingly complicated by geopolitical events, natural disasters and other developments. More and more, organisations are finding comprehensive risk mitigation strategies for their mobile workforce to be of upmost importance.

Today, more than ever, travellers need to remain informed of prevailing risks and attendant mitigation measures. Beyond geopolitical issues and natural disasters, emerging diseases, social unrest and evolving crime dynamics require that travellers practice vigilance. Across a series of concurrent and overlapping crises, International SOS observed a 16% increase in the volume of security and medical alerts issued to clients throughout January to November this year compared to same period in 2022. The considerable increase illustrates both the evolving global security environment as well as value of timely and verified information and analysis as a key resource to ensure workforce safety.

The impact of climate change, including extreme weather events, natural disasters and environmental changes also poses an additional layer of risk to global travel and are proving to be increasingly disruptive. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated that within the next two decades, temperatures are likely to rise by 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and we are likely to see a multitude of unavoidable climate hazards globally.3

Natural disaster-related reporting accounted for 20% of International SOS’ medical and security alert volume in the months of July and August this year. This is a 5% increase compared to the same period last year. These months fall within the peak of hurricane and tropical cyclone season, highlighting the increased risk of natural disasters during this time.

Michael Rogers added

With climate change exacerbating existing travel risks, it is important for organisations to have robust and integrated health and security travel policies that safeguard employees from potential impacts of climate change during travels. Additionally, encompassing the ISO 31030 standard in organisations’ policies provides a framework to ensure preparedness for a changing travel security landscape and to be better placed to mitigate increasingly complex travel risks.

 
Notes to editors

1. Analysis based on International SOS Tracker Data (1 January 2023 - 31 October 2023)
2. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) | September Passenger Demand Provides Solid End to Third Quarter
3. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change | Climate change: a threat to human wellbeing and health of the planet. Taking action now can secure our future

 Month  International Trips Domestic Trips
 January  647,047 1,586,783 
 February  759,691 1,898,904 
 March  929,561 2,220,245 
 April  724,830 1,942,344 
 May  963,210 2,213,890 
 June 967,428  2,168,361 
 July 705,814 1,845,430 
 August  591,804 1,796,606 
 September  981,161  2,164,297
 October  1,028,802  2,353,785

Data: International SOS Tracker Data (1 January 2023 – 31 October 2023)

About the International SOS Group of Companies
The International SOS Group of Companies is in the business of saving lives, protecting your global workforce from health and security threats. Wherever you are, we deliver customised health, security risk management and wellbeing solutions to fuel your growth and productivity. In the event of extreme weather, an epidemic or a security incident, we provide an immediate response providing peace of mind. Our innovative technology and medical and security expertise focus on prevention, offering real-time, actionable insights and on-the-ground quality delivery. We help protect your people, your organisation's reputation, as well as support your compliance reporting needs. By partnering with us, organisations can fulfil their Duty of Care responsibilities, while empowering business resilience, continuity and sustainability.

Founded in 1985, the International SOS Group, headquartered in London & Singapore, is trusted by more than 9,000 organisations, including the majority of the Fortune 500, as well as mid-size enterprises, governments, educational institutions and NGOs. 13,000 multicultural medical, security and logistics experts stand with you to provide support & assistance from over 1,200 locations in 90 countries, 24/7, 365 days.

To protect your workforce, we are at your fingertips: www.internationalsos.com