Business travel risks on the rise say decision-makers

In October 2016 Ipsos surveyed 1,119 people who organise, influence, or are responsible for, their organisation's travel and risk mitigation policies.

In October 2016 Ipsos surveyed 1,119 people who organise, influence, or are responsible for, their organisation’s travel and risk mitigation policies. This work was carried out on behalf of International SOS, the world’s largest medical and travel security services firm. Participants were asked about how their organisation perceived risks to be evolving, and how they are adapting to help their people reduce their exposure to risk.


The findings suggest business travellers are nervous about international travel risks. Almost three quarters (72%) of participants surveyed towards the end of 2016 feel that risks to business travellers have increased, with over half (57%) expecting further increases in risk over the next year. Against this backdrop, 48% say that their organisation’s investment in risk management has increased over the past year, with 47% expecting further increases over the coming year.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the vast majority of organisations (80%) say their business has modified travel itineraries due to health or travel security concerns over the past year. The most common reasons for modifying travel itineraries were: terrorism (51%), country risk ratings (36%), and civil unrest (31%).

Interestingly, issues like healthcare provision and road safety, which account for over 70% of the assistance services International SOS have provided in the past year, can often be obscured by more prominent, but less likely issues. Similarly, 50% of participants say that travel to Europe represents an increased risk to health and security of travellers compared to a year ago (ahead of the 44% who said the same about the Middle East).

Despite the perceptions of increased risk, 44% report increased business travel from their organisation in the past year. Organisations' top risk mitigation activities are: reinforced travel security measures (50%), updated travel risk policy (45%), introduced pre-trip advisory emails (39%), implemented travel safety training (32%) and implemented programmes to locate travellers (25%).

Technical note

International Travel: Risks and Reality: The New Normal for Business is an Ipsos research study conducted among 1,119 business decision-makers across 75 countries. Research was conducted online using representative panels in the period October 6th to October 26th 2016.

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