The Business Travel Association has launched a Manifesto outlining a “strategic pathway to tackle industry pressure points and support the UK economy”.
It calls for trade agreements to include new work visas and permits, an industry standard for carbon off-setting and a strategic multi-modal transport strategy.
It also pushes for a new UK Global Business Travel Fund, to ensure that international travel is efficient.
The BTA says the fund would encourage SMEs to travel to new trading partners and unlock new business deals across the world.
CEO Clive Wratten said: “Business travellers are the drivers of international trade. As such, our industry should be recognised for its crucial role in the UK economy, and more must be done to improve the wider travel ecosystem.
“Constant unruly disruptions are pushing commuters to their cars as they lose faith in public transport networks. Delays to work trips due to travel incompetence are not only an inconvenience but carry significant economic and environmental costs for the UK.”
The Manifesto says traveller trust is being challenged by “outdated and abandoned infrastructure such as the HS2 project, connectivity issues, poor sustainability commitments, and a depleting workforce”.
It calls for an industry standard of carbon offsetting to tackle the environmental burden of travel and to reduce ‘greenwashing’ by ensuring all businesses are held to the same level of accountability.
Wratten added: “There is no common standard for businesses operating in the industry. This must change. We demand that the government recognise the value of business travel and work together with the industry to ensure we collectively champion the unique needs of business travellers.”
The Manifesto predicts that the industry’s 2024 outlook could be positive, with business travel returning to 80-85% of pre-pandemic levels, but says at its current pace, the reality will result in economic growth being stunted further, with additional environmental pressure.
The Manifesto was launched ahead of the King’s Speech on November 7.