All rise - to business travel


BUSINESS travel is set to increase in the next 12 months according to business travel organisers responding to The Business Travel Show Dubai 2008 pre-show survey, conducted by YouGovSiraj.
Over 80 per cent of the respondents expect their company’s travel frequency to increase, with almost half expecting the increase to be substantial. Similarly, company travel budgets have increased in the last year for over three quarters of respondents and as many expect this trend to continue in the next 12 months.
The class of travel is mixed. Over a third of respondents said the main class is business and are expecting to see more business class travel in the next 12 months.
The business class ethos carries through to accommodation, with the majority of corporate travellers staying in four and five star hotels.
“The Business Travel Show Dubai 2008 pre-show survey points to increased demand for business class products, despite the global economic downturn. This proves that corporations continue to see the value of conducting business on a face-to-face basis, and also shows that they are willing to pay that little extra to see their executives travel in style,” said Sally Maltby, event director for show organisers Centaur Exhibitions.
Conferences and exhibitions are the most common reasons for a business trip, followed by visits to existing clients and offices within the same company.
In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, it was apparent that as the number of aircraft orders continued to hit the press and set new records travel is only set to go one way.
“In fact, passenger demand in the Middle East outgrew all other regions in the first half of 2007 and was triple the world average, according to statistics from the International Air Transport Association (IATA),” said Jane Wilson, director of Travel and Tourism Research at YouGovSiraj.
Sustainability and environmental concerns were found to be unimportant to the region’s travel bookers, indicating a need for more education in this field.
Less than one in five survey respondents said they would go out of their way to use suppliers that minimise employee carbon footprints whenever possible, regardless of cost. Two thirds did not consider this issue or were unaware.
Around a third claim their company sometimes opts to pay the extra fee to cover the carbon offset on flights, with just under a fifth saying they thought their company might opt to do this in the next year.
When asked if they plan trips according to a carbon calculator, less than a third were willing to consider it. However, 12 per cent claim to have never applied the concept of ‘personal carbon trading’ when booking business travel.
“The Green statistics prove that more needs to be done to educate companies on the environmental cost of their regular business travel. This will certainly be one area of focus for us at The Business Travel Show Dubai, where we aim to lead by example,” Maltby said.
The Business Travel Show Dubai, due to take place at the Madinat Jumeriah Arena on October 20 to 21, has already signed an agreement to offset its carbon emissions with Carbon Capital Markets, a leading carbon trader and fund manager.