Map your health and security risks with 2017 Travel Risk Map

Medical and security specialists, International SOS and Control Risks, have launched their Travel Risk Map for 2017. Providing a comprehensive overview of risks by destination, the map helps organisations and their mobile workforce in their travel risk mitigation efforts.

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The map has been released at the same time as the results from an Ipsos MORI study which reveals latest business decision-makers’ views on travel risks:

  • 72% believe travel risks have increased over the past year; 57% anticipate further rise in risk levels
  • 1/3 of organisations modified travel itineraries due to country risk ratings
  • Nearly half (48%) report an increase in investment to mitigate risks

The release is timely, as the issue becomes even more pressing for those involved in global mobility managing business travel and both short and long-term assignments. FEM has also recently launched its Policy in Practice survey focusing on Managing Risk and Compliance in an Uncertain World where the Forum for Expatriate Management aims to take a snapshot of current policy and best-practice.

Speaking about the International SOS and Control Risks Travel Map, Rob Walker, Security specialist at International SOS and Control Risks said, "It is essential for decision-makers to have a reliable source of objective information to help them implement travel risk policies and individual travel plans. The extent of the preparation and support employees need could be determined either by medical or security risks, or by a combination of both. Companies need to take a comprehensive view when preparing their employees for travel and assignments abroad.”

He continued, “Events of 2016 have resulted in a sense of increasing challenges in travel to places once thought secure. While risks are changing, organisations must ensure their actions to mitigate those changes are proportionate, and based on reality and not perception. Issues like healthcare provision and road safety, which account for over 70% of the assistance services we have provided in the past year, can often be obscured by more prominent, but less likely issues. With many organisations increasing their business travel activity, it is essential for decision-makers to be able to communicate that objective advice to their people, including in an actual crisis.”

“Keeping informed and taking into account all risk factors will enable business travel to proceed successfully, resulting in a protected workforce and business continuity.”

You can use the interactive map here

The Travel Risk Map 2017 has been launched alongside a comprehensive Ipsos MORI survey of over 1,000 business decision-makers, responsible for their organisation’s travel risk mitigation in 75 countries, representing in excess of 500,000 travellers globally.

Organisations Challenged to Take Control

Despite an increased perception of risk (72% of respondents), 44% reported a rise in business travel activity in the past year and over half expect further increase in 2017.

  • 80% of organisations modified travel itineraries in the past year due to health and security concerns.
  • Almost half of respondents (48%) say their organisations investment in travel risk mitigation has increased over the past year, and 47% believe this will increase further in the coming year.

The top risk mitigation activities were:

  • Reinforced travel security measures 50%
  • Updated travel risk policy 45%
  • Introduced pre-trip advisory emails 39%
  • Implemented travel safety training 32%
  • Implemented programmes to locate travellers 25%
  • Provided pre-travel health programmes 22%
  • Invested in crisis communication systems 20%
  • Enforced use of mobile check in 15%

Business decision-makers report that the greatest challenges in mitigating travel risks are:

  • Educating employees about travel risks 49%
  • Communicating during a crisis 47%
  • Tracking employee travel 42%
  • Confirming that employees have read pre-travel information 37%
  • Travel risk policy compliance 31%
  • Managing a crisis 31%
  • Business continuity planning 23%
  • Implementing a travel risk policy 23%
  • Confirming that employees have taken travel risk training 23%
  • Understanding legal obligations to travellers 22%
  • Management buy-in of travel risk policy 18%

Security Risks Higher on the Corporate Agenda than Healthcare

Potential terror attacks (71%) dominate concerns on a global level, followed by the Zika virus (49%) and civil unrest (46%), with inadequate healthcare and road accidents both at 15%. However, say International SOS and Control Risks, these lesser considered, but more common issues should also be taken seriously.

Dr Irene Lai, Medical Director of Information and Analysis for International SOS, said, “It is vital for companies to familiarise themselves and their travellers with the health risks associated with travel and take measures to reduce those risks. While the Zika virus has had extensive media coverage this year, common medical issues which don’t make the headlines, such as traveller’s gastric issues or running out of regular medication, are more likely, and can destroy a business trip.”

“Road accidents are also a major issue and one of the top five causes of medical evacuation. A number of countries showed significant improvement in deaths from road accidents in the past year, but organisations should be mindful that they remain a common major risk.”

Respondents were found to take the following actions to mitigate risk when they travel:

  • Share itinerary with family and friends 59%
  • Research threats at destination 54%
  • Research vaccination requirements 42%
  • Research attitudes, cultures and practices of local population 42%
  • Protect against mosquito bites 36%

Rob Walker concluded, “Travellers are much less likely to encounter unexpected or avoidable problems if they plan ahead. Using objective advice to prepare travellers, and by staying up to date on any changes and how they might affect plans, will further reduce, both the likelihood of people experiencing problems, and the extent of the impact.“

FEM has recently launched its Policy in Practice survey so if you haven't already done so:

Complete the survey here> Managing Risk and Compliance in an Uncertain World

Go to the profile of Claire Tennant-Scull

Claire Tennant-Scull

Global Director, Content & Events, Forum for Expatriate Management

Claire Tennant-Scull is Global Director of Content & Events at the Forum for Expatriate Management (FEM). She produces and chairs all FEM’s Conferences and Summits in Amsterdam, the Americas, APAC and EMEA and oversees FEM's global awards (EMMAs). Claire works closely with key clients, leads FEM’s London Chapter and oversees the FEM website, reports and publications. In addition to her experience in Global Mobility, Claire has more than 20 years’ expertise in publishing, working as a managing editor, writer, journalist and broadcaster, both in the print and digital world. With thousands of contacts across the Global Mobility community, Claire is always keen to welcome new members and to broaden the FEM community.

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