business travel

Covid’s Impact on Business Travel

Covid cost most of us our holidays. But what about business travel? What impact has it had on travel for work?

Covid all but killed travel. Most of us sadly waved any hopes of an overseas holiday away in 2020. Many of are still in the same position in 2021.

But what about business travel? Exemptions have applied in many areas of lockdown and restrictions for business activities. But have people continued to travel for work?

In the UK, pre-pandemic, 21.4% of people travelled to other cities or countries as a part of their job. Most enjoyed it (not all, mind).

But what about now?

Are people still traveling for business during the pandemic?

Restrictions in the UK have largely been lifted. But the pandemic is still very much a thing, so how are businesses handling travel?

A Government survey conducted by Ipsos Mori in January 2021 found:

  • Only 35% of businesses had continued to allow business travel throughout the pandemic
  • Even for those businesses who have continued with business travel, 

Is the future remote?

I don’t doubt that many companies will move to a setup that offers employees more flexibility to work remotely. And perhaps many of us have come to realise that we travelled more than was necessary prior to the pandemic.

But as of the 19th July, businesses in the UK were able to drop their “work from home” policies as the Government ditched its guidance. And while we’ve yet to see statistics about how many people have indeed returned to the office, what we can see is increased mobility in many of the UK’s cities.

If we look at Birmingham on the Citymapper Mobility Index, we can see that mobility in the city dropped as low as 10% at the height of the first lockdown. Week ending 1st August, it was between 76% and 93% each day.

In Manchester, mobility had dropped to as little as 8% over the first lockdown according to Citymapper statistics. During the week ending 1st August, mobility was between 85% and 104%.

In other words, mobility across those cities as increased dramatically. 

Will this affect wider business travel?

Well, we don’t have the data yet. But with restrictions easing in many countries, signs that the vaccine is effective in reducing serious illness and businesses given the green light to start bringing staff into offices, we’d expect to see business travel increasing over the second half of 2021.

Let’s wait for the stats!

Featured image used under a CC2.0 license. Sourced via Flickr courtesy of


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