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What is the Global Travel Taskforce?

What is the Global Travel Taskforce?

After over a year in perpetual lockdown we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel for business travel. With the UK running a world-leading vaccination programme, and restrictions starting to ease, there is a general feeling that the restart of travel – both for commercial and leisure – might not be far behind. Plus, with the formation of the government’s Global Travel Taskforce, the travel management industry is beginning to get information on what travel could look like in a post-COVID world.

But what is the Global Travel Taskforce and what does its findings mean for the future business travellers? Let’s examine the answers to these questions in a bit more detail so you’re not left clutching at straws.


What is the Global Travel Taskforce?

The taskforce was originally set up in November of 2020 with the task of creating a framework for reintroducing the public to travel post-COVID. This would examine the viability of travel, the risks involved, and set out timelines for when people could resume travel and to where! The taskforce was made up of professionals and experts from within the travel industry, including travel agencies, government bodies and operators, to provide a holistic view from all sides.

On April 12th 2021, the Global Travel Taskforce presented their initial findings to the government, laying out key recommendations for all forms of travel as we approach the summer.

What did the Global Travel Taskforce report say?

The 20 page report covered a lot of ground; from the governments rollout of COVID vaccinations to the risks facing the travel industry and the general readiness of businesses and individuals to start returning to travel. However, there were several key points that are worth highlighting from the report:

  • The report draws attention to the support package created for the travel industry throughout the pandemic, which has enabled it to continue with very little demand.
  • There are likely to be issues surrounding the devolved nations within the UK (i.e. Scotland and Wales) as they take different approaches to lifting COVID restrictions and resuming travel.
  • There is confirmation in the report that the aim of the government is to support residents needing verification to travel by utilising the NHS solution. This will be inline with international travel requirements.

In addition to these highlighted points, the Global Travel Taskforce also outlined a series of recommendations which it feels will hasten the return of travel in the UK. These are all designed to minimise the risk of spreading COVID whilst ensuring that businesses can start to return to some semblance of normality as quickly and safely as possible. These recommendations include:

  • Removing limits on outbound travel no later than May 17th 2021. In theory this will allow a sufficient number of people to be vaccinated, and we will get a better understanding of how the UK is dealing with the virus. Once that is determined, we should be able to start traveling to a selected number of destinations.
  • In place of a blanket ban on travel, a ‘traffic light’ system will be introduced that assesses destinations based on risk and provides a set of actions that must be taken before travel can begin. Much like this:

  • Introducing 3 checkpoints through 2021 (June, July and October) which are designed to assess the effectiveness of the travel measure.
  • Ensure comprehensive measures are in place to assess and assure safety readiness across all modes of travel.
  • Use feedback from industry and CAA expertise to make targeted interventions to ensure operational safety.

These are just some cherry-picked recommendations that will significantly impact and influence business travel going forward. The remainder of the recommendations put forward by the Global Travel Taskforce are important for the wider travel community, with provisions being made for cruise travel, specific technology integrations and much more.


What does this all mean for business travel?

Currently, there is no real update regarding business travel. Whilst the Global Travel Taskforce does show us that travel is getting due consideration from the government, it still doesn’t give definitive dates for when we can start planning business trips and engaging in travel. As it stands, all non-essential international travel is currently illegal. Travellers for strictly essential reasons are required to quarantine in place when returning to the UK from any of the 35 red list countries.

For all other arrivals to the country, there’s a mandatory 10-day quarantine, with the requirement that quarantined travellers must take a COVID-19 test two days into their stay and eight days in also.

But as the report highlights, May 17th is the new date to look forward to. From then we should get a much clearer idea of how lockdown restrictions will be eased and how we will be able to start returning to business travel – even if it is in a small way. However, this is all very dependent on how the vaccination rollout continues and how the rate of infections look in May. If the numbers are not looking good, there’s every chance this data could be pushed back again, leaving the business travel community in limbo.

How ACE Travel can help

At ACE Travel we’re all too aware of how difficult the last 12 months have been for the business travel community. But we are preparing for life after COVID, and we are still here to help if you need us.

Our team of expert travel consultants are on-hand to discuss the latest report from the Global Travel Taskforce, or simply to answer any questions you might have about business travel. So if you’re looking for more information, don’t hesitate to get in touch.


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Apr 27 2021
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