Statistics from over 22 500 sources state that, worldwide, commercial airlines carried over 4.3 billion passengers on scheduled flights in 2018. Given the proliferation of companies exploring and conducting businesses in foreign destinations, a significant percentage of these passengers are frequent-flyer business travellers.

In South Africa, with 40% of air travel being for business purposes, companies across the country have thousands of travellers in the air every day. That’s exactly why companies, big and small, need to focus on keeping their business travellers safe.

The mantra, ‘It won’t happen to me’ is for the short-sighted and naïve. The damage caused when the safety of business travellers is threatened, in-flight or on the ground, can cost their companies greatly.

Therefore companies should take the implementation of travel risk management plans very seriously. This need not be complicated. A quality travel management company (TMC) will conduct a travel risk assessment and set up effective procedures outlined in the company’s travel policy.

No matter the size of an incident – from the in-flight theft of a wallet or cell phone, to a back-street mugging or serious motor accident – travel risk management must be structured to effect minimum delay and maximum support.

When creating the plan, the company should ask questions such as:

To be of use, a travel risk policy imust be effectively communicated and adhered to by all staff travelling for the business. Communication of the plan and the plan itself must be simple. When an emergency occurs, the traveller must:

This way, should something negative happen, the traveller knows exactly how and to whom to respond.

All companies, whatever their size, should provide their travellers with safety training, pre-travel briefings, check out the efficiency of mobile alerts and make sure their travelling staff have 24/7 access to a phone number for medical and security support.

The aim of travel risk management as an integral part of a company’s travel policy can never completely eradicate all risks. But if carefully developed and continuously updated according to on-the-ground realities, it can alleviate as many of the risks as possible.

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