Entrepreneurs have also been interested in visiting European countries to participate in conferences and stay current with the most recent global trends, frequently taking advantage of trips to see a new place.
The coronavirus pandemic has meant that businesses must quickly adapt to a different way to conduct business. With many flights being canceled and access restrictions all over Europe, the EU, and across the globe traveling abroad for meetings is not an alternative.
Do online business meetings represent the next trend in Europe?
The technology used by companies has been embraced for virtual and videoconferencing. It is now a regular part of everyday life for millions of employees.
A lot of companies have adjusted well to this trend toward online services. This means that some business owners might not be able to take their employees to other countries and instead prefer to reduce time and expense by using the virtual meeting format.
Attitudes toward traveling to Europe to conduct business have changed due to the pandemic. The question is whether or not it has changed.
Large financial institutions such as HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, and ABN Amro have clearly stated that they will drastically reduce their employees’ number of business trips. HSBC CEO Noel Quinn went as far as to say that his travel plans will be reduced by at least 50%.
However, employees share a common desire for more efficient, fewer trips. A Concur study was conducted in May 2021; 90 percent of frequent business travelers indicated that they would be likely to go back to travel within the next twelve months 68% were also able to say that they would be willing to do so only if their employer will provide safety measures to combat COVID-19. They have the freedom to select the conditions of their travel plans.
The reduction in business travel could be beneficial for business
Internal European business travel is expected to be particularly affected by the pandemic and new methods to travel for work.
When they were forced to take the travel limit on international trips in the past year, businesses realized that the savings couldn’t be ignored -for example, HSBC alone said it would save $300 million on travel expenses in 2020.
More environmentally-friendly practices are also growing in importance for firms. Based on calculations made by The Financial Times, the four most prominent institutions in the UK could reduce the CO2 emission by 120,000 tons if it was possible to cut travel by 50%.
It’s not difficult to understand why hopping onto a plane to attend an hour-long lunchtime meeting in a country that is not yours does not make sense anymore to employees and companies alike.
Greener and cheaper European corporate travel
It doesn’t mean that all conferences and meetings in Europe will be moving to the internet. There are still many benefits to meeting a client and supervisor face-to-face, and significant networking events aren’t the same on the internet.
Certain companies like ABN Amro switch to trains instead of traveling between European offices and offices with solid train connections.
Given how COVID testing and vaccines are set to stay for some time, there is a general desire for longer and less time spent in foreign countries. If you plan meetings well, business owners can achieve the same objectives while taking shorter trips (and fewer medical declarations.)
The positive reason for individuals who have to travel abroad for jobs is that an ETIAS visa waiver is scheduled to be available. This will make traveling to Europe much easier for business travelers. Learn more about the advantages of the European Travel Information and Authorization System. European Travel Information and Authorization System for business travelers.
ETIAS for business travelers
Business travelers from all over the world can soon avail the benefits of the latest European visa exemption. The European Travel Information and Authorization Service are expected to go live in 2022 at its expiration and become mandatory soon after.
The ETIAS visa waiver program is currently being implemented to improve security throughout the Schengen Area. The system will screen travelers before they arrive in Europe, which allows authorities to prevent the entry of any person who is a danger to the safety and health of the general public.
ETIAS can be used for business-related activities, such as attending conferences, meetings, or other events. The card cannot be used to get into paid work in a European country. To do that, it is necessary to have a work permit issued by a particular EU country is required.
The benefits of ETIAS exemption for visas of professionals
The advantages of an ETIAS exemption from tickets to travel for business are:
- You can apply only once every three years for multiple travels to Europe (unless your passport is due to expire)
- You can stay in the Schengen Area for up to 90 days within a 180-day timeframe
- This permit will apply to all 26 Schengen countries.
- Rapid and efficient online ETIAS application process
- Electronically linked to passport, there’s no requirement to carry around an actual permit
- Greater security across Schengen nations
Travelers from countries not part of the visa-exemption scheme must obtain the Schengen visa through a consulate or embassy. Certain EU countries also offer digital nomad visas suitable for remote employees.
Business travel to Europe The statistics
Statistics demonstrate that business travel is crucial for the EU and the global economy.
The figures from the European Union’s Report on Tourism Trends show how, in the year 2016
- Professional and business travel made about 15% of all international travelers in EU destinations and 12percent in destinations outside the EU.
- 7 million tourists from abroad have visited Europe for professional and business motives (77.1 million in the EU 28)
- Business and professional travel in the world totaled the sum of 176 million (out of 1 239 million)
The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) report reveals that spending by corporations is particularly significant for specific European countries. The top beneficiaries of 2017 included (in US dollars)):
- Germany 72 million
- UK 50 million
- France 40 million people in France
- UK 50 million people in the UK
- France 40 million in
Countries more closely involved in summer vacations benefit from professional travel: approximately 22 billion US dollars were earmarked for corporate travel in Spain in 2017.
Business traveling to Europe was impacted during the year 2020 because of the pandemic; estimates suggest that business travel will increase to 52% of what they were in 2019 by 2021. Then, they are expected to rise to about 83% of this amount by 2022 and 2023 and get back to pre-COVID levels by 2025.
The effect of Brexit on professional travel to the UK is still to be observed. However, London is likely to remain a significant hub to conduct international business.
Traveling to Europe for business
A few British experts have voiced their concern about the impact of Brexit on travel in Europe.
Since the United Kingdom is no longer part of the European Union, UK citizens do not have the freedom of movement within Europe. The possibility of traveling across and between European countries without requiring an entry visa or permit was, until recently, a boon for business trips and made last-minute events abroad feasible.
Since we are in the United Kingdom is in its post-Brexit phase, UK citizens will need an ETIAS permit to participate in conferences and meetings when the European visa waiver goes into effect.
British Passport holders from the UK are encouraged to stay up-to-date with the latest developments and prepare for changes to how travelers travel in Europe for business.
EU solutions for business travel following COVID-19
Tourism and business travel are now more apparent due to the current coronavirus epidemic. Countries that rely heavily on international travel and spending witnessed significant revenue sources disappear, which could mean the loss of millions of jobs and slowing the growth.
But, the excellent vaccine coverage in European countries and the introduction of the EU digital vaccination certificate as a condition for travel are expected to significantly improve business travel across Europe in the future.
This EU Digital vaccine certification functions as a COVID passport facilitating travel between EU member states. It was rolled out across Europe’s Schengen Area on July 1st, 2021. It permits COVID vaccination certificates and test results to be safely stored digitally.
The QR codes associated with them are then easily presented to the border officials using the mobile device, allowing travelers to skip the need to be quarantined upon arrival in Europe. It is worth noting that the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has also developed the same mobile application, called the IATA Travel Pass, which helps travelers travel with coronavirus-related restrictions.
However, on the other hand, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) sought an exemption from the quarantine restriction for those traveling across the globe for 72 hours and less December.
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has embraced the suggestion, indicating that it may reactivate the business tourism industry in international locations and significantly boost the economy.
Gloria Guevara, president, and executive director of the WTTC Gloria Guevara, executive director and president of the WTTC, stated:
“The revival of business travel is essential in accelerating the economic recovery across the globe like last year. inbound business travel to Europe represented USD 111.3 billion while worldwide it was greater than USD 272 billion.”
COVID testing before departure rather than on arrival is a different method to eliminate barriers and promote mobility.
These guidelines consider the lower risk of getting sick that visitors face when visiting for a short period, particularly during business trips where interactions with the general public are restricted.
The UK exempts high-value travelers from quarantine. corporate travelers
From December 2020 onwards, certain professionals will no longer need to be quarantined upon returning to England after visiting other countries on the list of travel corridors to conduct business.
However, the Department of Transport has said that to be eligible for exemption, the business trip must lead to the creation or preservation of at least 50 new jobs, resulting in a 100 million pounds investment or an order.
Certain artists such as elite sportspersons and journalists might also be eligible to take advantage of the exclusion.
Travel bubbles for business travelers
The impact of coronavirus has particularly impacted the industry of airlines. Since business travel is an impressive portion of all flights in the year, airlines are now required to work to attract corporate travelers back.
Tourists may be content to travel despite the outbreak, but the thought of spending enjoying a week in the sun eliminates any health issues. On the other hand, business travelers aren’t so keen to take an airplane in present circumstances unless their safety is assured.
One suggestion is that all flights comprise employees of the same company. Airlines could conduct controlled flights to ensure that the business owners can give their employees the safety they need.
In addition to being an effective solution for businesses, these travel bubbles can aid airlines in recovering. While the number of individuals flying for business reasons will eventually decrease, the amount companies pay to send their employees overseas may be similar to that in line with this model.
Airlines are also considering COVID-free flights as a way to solve the issue. For instance, American Airlines (AA) and Delta, together with Alitalia and the Italian Government, have announced the first COVID-tested flight service that allows passengers to stay out of the quarantine.
Select flight routes connecting major American cities such as New York and Fiumicino Airport in Rome require testing passengers before takeoff and upon arrival. If the test is negative, passengers can skip the quarantine process, which is a great perk to travel for business reasons and with a limited amount of time.
International conferences held in Europe
A few of the business conferences that are scheduled to be held throughout European nations in the year 2021 include:
- International Conference on Green Energy Technologies, Frankfurt 14 July 2021
- Chemistry World Conference, Rome 6-8 September 2021
- International Conference on Sports and Exercise Physiology, Zurich: 16 September 2021
- International Conference on Electronic Voting in Bregenz: 5 to 8 October 2021
The dates are subject to change dependent on the progress of the pandemic. Other dates could be relocated to the internet.
This is only a tiny sample of the hundreds of conferences or conventions, congresses, or other events held throughout Europe every year and cover a broad spectrum of disciplines and fields of expertise.
International conferences often offer valuable networking opportunities not easily duplicated in a virtual space. This is why it is likely that business travel for meetings will likely increase to a certain extent following COVID-19.