Nearly one third of European global travel buyers report their company has already introduced new restrictions on non-essential business travel or new requirements related to business travel due to Omicron.
The figure compares to only 12% of North America-based buyers and 17% globally, according to the latest survey by the GBTA.
A poll of 732 GBTA members conducted on December 6-12, 2021, in light of the emergence of the Omicron variant, found 19% of buyers report their company has not introduced new restrictions but is considering doing so.
Just over half (53%) report their company is unlikely to introduce new restrictions due to the rise of the new variant.
The survey also found that 82% of global business travel professionals are concerned or very concerned about the revenue impact on companies in the business travel sector due to Cmicron.
According to a survey by the GBTA, 69% report they are concerned in some capacity about employment and (re)hiring in the sector and 61% are concerned about the safety of business travel.
The Omicron variant has likely impacted at least a portion of bookings for business travel suppliers and TMCs, with 37% reporting their bookings have decreased and 35% saying their company’s bookings have remained the same.
In Europe there are indicators of more concern around revenue impact, with 90% of respondents more likely to say they are concerned or very concerned about the revenue impact to companies in the business travel sector due to Omicron compared to those based in North America (79%).
Travel supplier respondents in Europe(61%) are more likely to report their bookings have decreased compared to respondents in North America (29%).
When compared to an August 2021 GBTA about the Delta variant, while there was a similar level of concern around revenue-specific impacts across the two variants, the Omicron variant is causing less concern around safety of resuming travel or employment/rehiring.
In the August poll about the delta variant, 85% of respondents reported being concerned or very concerned about revenue impact, 79% in terms of employment/rehiring and 78% in terms of safety of business travel.
“As we move through the pandemic, I think this shows the business travel industry is taking a thoughtful, informed and adaptive approach even as new variants may emerge,” said Suzanne Neufang, CEO, GBTA.
“Without clear scientific data, we know knee-jerk restrictions on travel do not generate an effective outcome and taking actions such as border closures and frequently changing entry rules only add to the confusion.
“Companies and travellers are better equipped now with policies and processes to safely mitigate risk and support traveling, as long as testing and vaccines remain a part of the equation.”