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Blog 1 October, 2021 Back

Global travel restrictions easing

Becky Malcolm

travel update

It’s World Smile Day, and this week we have lots to smile about with the good news that around the world travel restrictions are easing.

The UK is making changes to Covid travel rules, removing the traffic light system to make overseas travel easier; the US is lifting its long-standing UK and EU travel ban; and Australians will be able to travel abroad within weeks.

Indications are that travellers are keen to get travelling again and demand for transatlantic travel has been building.

Forthcoming travel policy changes in the news this week –

In the UK from 4th October the amber and green lists will be abolished and all destinations will be merged into a single ‘rest of world’ category.

This means countries are either ‘open’ for travel or on the red list. Only travellers returning from red list countries will need to pay to quarantine in a hotel.

Fully vaccinated travellers will no longer have to take PCR or lateral flow tests before arriving in the UK, but travellers are required to take a PCR test two days after arrival. Later in October the PCR test will be changed to a simple lateral flow test in England. (Rules for Scotland, Wales and Ireland still vary).

People who are not fully vaccinated still need a pre-departure test and a PCR test on days two and eight after they return. They must also self-isolate for 10 days.

The UK Test to Release scheme  will remain an option for unvaccinated passengers to England who want to shorten their quarantine.

In the US, the White House announced this week that fully vaccinated passengers from the UK and most EU countries will be allowed to travel into the country from early November. This follows a travel ban imposed by Donald Trump over 18 months ago.

Travel to the US will be resumed for 33 countries that are currently not permitted direct entry. The nations that will be allowed to travel to the US are those in the Schengen area (22 members of the European Union plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), China, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Iran, South Africa, Brazil and India. People arriving at US airports must show proof of vaccination as well as a negative Covid-19 test taken three days prior to boarding an airplane. Quarantine on arrival will not be required.

The Australian federal government is also lifting its 18-month ban on overseas travel. Australians will be able to travel abroad and quarantine at home for just seven days without seeking a permit. The nation’s borders were dramatically shut on March 20 last year to all non-citizens and non-residents, with Australian citizens and permanent residents needing to seek a government-issued exemption to travel. The ban was initially in place until December 17.

As a result of the US announcement Virgin Atlantic saw a 600% increase in US bookings on Monday compared with the previous week.

More good news is that as Covid-19 travel restrictions are relaxed, we are seeing the return of international in-person events and conferences.

Organisations still depend on face-to-face meetings to win new customers, close business deals and develop high-performing talent. According to a Forbes 2021 survey, 84 percent of executives say they prefer in-person meetings for their ability to build stronger and more meaningful business relationships.

The importance of  pre-travel preparation:

It has never been more important for businesses to make pre-travel preparations for their international travellers. With the implications of the global pandemic, it has become more important than ever to understand the health status of your employees before you deploy them internationally.

People are at their most vulnerable when in unfamiliar places and under pressure to deliver, and pre-travel medical screening is an opportunity missed by many organisations to assess the physical, mental and emotional health of would-be travellers ahead of time.

By proactively flagging any specific needs to support and promote good physical and psychological health, creating a plan and allocating the right resources, companies can enable their teams to be more resilient.

Before the pandemic frequent travellers faced a growing array of risks: from minor disruptions like travel delays; to major threats such as conflict, terror attacks, weather events, natural disasters, and violent protests and disorder. We are all adjusting to the new normal, with the global situation subject to rapid change over the last 18 months. For the international traveller, access to timely, reliable resources is essential for making informed decisions.

Your people journey to the ends of the earth for the benefit of your business. The travel risk management solution you choose should go to the same lengths to support them.

Build a resilient and valuable travel risk programme; fit for growth during COVID-19 and beyond