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GBTA Polls Global Buyer Members on Concerns About the Coronavirus

In mid-January, the first cases of the new coronavirus began to be reported. The virus was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and has continued to spread quickly across the globe. Since then there have been mandatory quarantines, canceled airline flights, and serious effects on the global financial markets.

With these developments, GBTA polled its global buyer members to assess the concern and impact of the coronavirus. View the full poll here.


Key Findings:

  • With nine in ten global travel managers (89%) reporting they have employees who travel to China and other international destinations for business travel, it’s not surprising travel managers are concerned about the coronavirus spreading.
  • The GBTA flash poll finds nine in ten (89%) travel managers are personally concerned about the coronavirus spreading around the world, with half (40%) being ‘very concerned.’ In addition, business travelers are concerned about the spread of the coronavirus, as seven in ten travel managers report their employees have expressed ‘a lot’ (27%) or ‘some’ (42%) concern about the disease’s spread.
  • Travel managers report their employees are also concerned about health screenings at airports with half reporting their employees are either ‘somewhat’ (37%) or ‘very’ (13%) concerned about screenings.
  • Travel managers also report coronavirus concerns are heightened among their executive/senior leadership, with eight in ten reporting their leadership is either ‘very concerned’ (40%) or ‘somewhat concerned’ (40%) about the virus and its impact on business travel and employee safety.
  • Due to the heightened concern about coronavirus, 80% travel managers believe it is likely their travelers will change travel plans to avoid flying and business travel. Almost half (46%) of travel managers say it is ‘very likely’ their travelers will change travel plans due to the virus with another third (34%) reporting it is ‘somewhat likely” their travelers will do so. In fact, only one percent of travel managers say it is ‘not at all likely’ their travelers will avoid flying and business travel due to the coronavirus.
  • Topping the list of travel manager concerns of their employees’ international travel in terms of the coronavirus is traveler health and safety (90%), their traveler’s concerns about their own personal safety (48%) and travel disruption due to airport closures, airline cancelations and/or delays (40%).


The poll was fielded from January 27-31, 2020 and received responses from 247 GBTA global buyer members yielding an 8% response rate.


About the Global Business Travel Association
The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) is the world’s premier business travel and meetings trade organization headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area with operations on six continents. GBTA’s 9,000-plus members manage more than $345 billion of global business travel and meetings expenditures annually. GBTA and the GBTA Foundation deliver world-class education, events, research, advocacy and media to a growing global network of more than 28,000 travel professionals and 125,000 active contacts. To learn how business travel drives lasting business growth, visit www.gbta.org.

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