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Is it safe to start planning business trips abroad in 2022?

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Young business man arriving at airport
Overall, corporate travel ticket volumes finished 2021 down 43% compared to pre-pandemic levels | Source: ARC

Over the past 20 months, millions of business trips were put on hold or cancelled all together. For some, switching luxury airport lounges for the lounges of their own homes, even when it offered far less entertainment perks, was not a big issue. But for others, travelling as part of a job spec became part of their DNA – and that DNA went through many changes in 2020 and 2021.

“Corporate air travel ticket volumes started to pick up in October as the impact of the Delta variant wore off. Recovery flattened toward the end of the year which is typical given the holidays. Overall, corporate travel ticket volumes finished 2021 down 43% compared to pre-pandemic levels. Our current projections have it finishing 2022 down, once again, at 25% compared to pre-pandemic levels – and we still don’t expect them to hit pre-pandemic levels until late 2026.” – says Jim Allen, senior financial analyst at Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC), an air travel intelligence and omnichannel providing tools and insights that connect the global travel community.

As not everyone is convinced that they can carry on working from home and, instead, would rather pack their laptop and board their first business trip of the new year, I asked entrepreneurs and professionals, from the travel industry, if it is safe yet to start planning a business trip abroad in 2022. The result was a mixed bag: 30% of those responding to my query posted online on the last day of 2021 are against rushing plans too far from your postcode any time soon. However, over 45% of almost 1,800 people who replied, believe that this is the year they will be dusting off their passport for one or more business trips.

Here are some of the highlights, including the professionals who will stay put for a bit longer, and those ready to go.

 

Postpone business trips if you can
“I was supposed to go on my first business trip this January. However, the current surge of the Omicron variant is wreaking havoc in our lives once again. The back-to-back flight cancellations and COVID-related travel restrictions are changing by the day, while more and more travel plans are getting affected.
If the travel is non-essential, I would advise travellers to postpone traveling until the worldwide COVID-19 situation gets better. If the travel is urgent, make it a point to know all the travel requirements and quarantine protocols. It is also important to practice extra caution when in transit, as a lot of the new cases were transmitted while flying.”

Emily Cooper – founder at luxury Italian menswear brand Oliver Wicks

 

Current necessary logistics aren’t worth the hassle

“Before the omicron variant, I was very optimistic about business trips and thought I could finally meet with some of the partners in person. However, the situation keeps changing and a lot of European countries are closing their borders or tightening COVID-related policies. I think now is the worst time to plan any trips abroad because of the uncertainties and potential existence of new variants. I’m not sure when it will be possible to plan, but I expect to see a similar situation for another 6 months at least. The only option is to plan a week or two in advance, in case of shorter trips. However, this doesn’t mean much because of the necessary logistics for trips, so it’s better to simply avoid traveling for some time.”

Malte Scholz – CEO at software solution company Airfocus

 

Renting a car is still safe

“From a car rental perspective, I would suggest it is very safe. Despite what the last 2 years have thrown at the travel industry, car rentals (when pre-booked) have remained one of the only travel services to offer a full refund up to 24 hours prior to travel, meaning that should your plans change due to personal isolation, airline cancellation or even government travel restrictions, you’ll never be left out of pocket with the rental car. Simply cancel for a full refund as soon as you know of your plans changing.
Equally, if you opt for pay on arrival (common place in the US), if you do not show at the rental counter, there will again, of course, be no charge.”

Phil Partridge – Marketing Manager at rental company Rhinocarhire

 

Some travel insurance will not cover borders being closed

“Pandemic protocols could affect the travel industry for years, so it is important to be flexible and resilient when planning a business trip. With countries re-adding limitations to travel in an effort to stop the spread of new variants, business travelers should be careful of traveling internationally as most travel insurance policies don’t cover when your destination closes its borders. With searches for “business travel accident insurance” up 350% in the past 12 months, ensure that your insurance covers cancellations, lost baggage, medical emergencies, trip interruptions, and delays. As you may need to cancel or rearrange your business trip, make sure to book a refundable ticket. These tickets are at a higher price point but are a good option if you’re uncertain about your travel plans.”

Naveen Dittakavi – CEO at Next Vacay

 

Yes, it can be done safely
Our agency, Haute, plans domestic and international incentive trips for corporations as well as other in-person events, so we are extremely conscious of safety policies for gatherings.

From small groups of 10 people to larger meetings of several hundred, we believe that it is possible to safely travel and meet for business. Throughout 2021, my colleagues and I visited seven countries safely (UAE, Maldives, Belize, USA, Bahamas, Mexico, and Colombia). We were vaccinated, masked, and cautious in crowded places. Although some countries had strict requirements for entry, some had completely open borders with no testing necessary. We had to stay up-to-date on country guidelines and airline policies, and we tried to fly business class where possible to get more personal space on the plane, especially the overnight flights. Having business meetings and seeing local cultural sites was easy – we primarily stayed with outdoor dining, or a private room in a restaurant when we were with a group.

Liz Lathan – Chief Marketing Officer at Haute Companies

 

You could be stranded abroad

“One is not fully immune to the virus even after taking the vaccines. Not only is health the issue but with rapidly fluctuating travel restrictions, it can be a game-changer for your plans. Imagine the borders closing just a few days before your departure. That would change everything, and you will have only a few days to stop things from falling apart. This would be a hectic drama to deal with. Hence, plan with the future in mind and a strong backup. Thus, be careful and alert while you plan trips this year.”

Hilda Wong – Founder at content writing agency Content Dog

 

Be flexible when planning your next trip

“Travel disruptions are likely to continue for the foreseeable future, so it’s important to stay flexible. Make sure you’re up to date on entry requirements at your destination, as these could change before your trip. If you don’t generally purchase travel insurance, it may be a good idea to consider it for travel this year.

We’re still seeing a return of pre-pandemic demand for travel, and there seems to be a reluctance to return to the travel restrictions of the past two years. While the situation could certainly change, it does appear that 2022 will be a better year for traveling abroad.”

Steve Oliverez – CEO at travel comparison website InsanelyCheapFlights

 

Marcio Delgado is a Journalist, Producer and Influencer Marketing Manager working with brands and publications in Europe, America and Asia.

Business

Event brings entrepreneurs together to talk the future of tech in the UK

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Spotify has assembled entrepreneurs and trailblazers for a series of thought-provoking conversations alongside a group of influencers, commentators, and policymakers. Dustee Jenkins, Chief Public Affairs Officer at Spotify, hosted the evening at the company’s HQ in London. To kick things off, Jenkins sat down with Brent Hoberman, who cofounded the online travel and leisure retailer lastminute.com in 1998. “Primarily what is organic here [in the UK] is talent,” he noted. “There is a huge depth of talent. It’s one of the highest densities of top corporates: Those corporates actually educate and train talent, and a lot of that talent wants to work at startups. You’ve got talent, capital and skills.” Spotify’s Co-President and Chief Business Officer Alex Norström then sat down with venture capitalist Harry Stebbings, host of The Twenty Minute VC podcast. Harry launched the podcast as a teenager in 2015 and has since interviewed thousands of investors, entrepreneurs, and startup founders. The two unpacked how founders can overcome barriers to growth in today’s tech sector, and Harry asked Alex what he likes about London. “I’m impressed by the passion of London,” Alex replied. “I came here thinking I was going to get a lot of rain. I got vibrancy and dynamism, both culturally as well as in business.” The event also featured her Royal Highness Princess Beatrice of York – founder of BY-EQ and Vice President of Partnerships and Strategy at Afiniti - hosting a fireside chat with Priya Dogra, Former President of WarnerBros Discovery for EMEA, and Sakshi Chhabra Mittal, founder and CEO of Foodhak, a science-based meal delivery service. The three discussed the impact tech is having on mission-driven companies and strategies for designing businesses in the modern age, as well as how to bring more women into tech. Exceeding £1 trillion, the UK’s technology market is the largest in Europe and the third-largest in the world. The country has been an important piece of the Spotify puzzle since it launched in 2008. Nowadays as one of our biggest research and development hubs, it’s where the company experiment with some of its newest launches and products, including audiobooks in Premium, video-based learning courses, and, most recently, AI Playlist. Spotify’s success in the U.K. is due in large part to the country’s open, connected, and competitive economy.
Spotify has assembled entrepreneurs and trailblazers for a series of conversations in London

Spotify has assembled entrepreneurs and trailblazers for a series of thought-provoking conversations alongside a group of influencers, commentators, and policymakers. Dustee Jenkins, Chief Public Affairs Officer at Spotify, hosted the evening at the company’s HQ in London.

To kick things off, Jenkins sat down with Brent Hoberman, who cofounded the online travel and leisure retailer lastminute.com in 1998.

“Primarily what is organic here [in the UK] is talent,” he noted. “There is a huge depth of talent. It’s one of the highest densities of top corporates: Those corporates actually educate and train talent, and a lot of that talent wants to work at startups. You’ve got talent, capital and skills.”

Spotify’s Co-President and Chief Business Officer Alex Norström then sat down with venture capitalist Harry Stebbings, host of The Twenty Minute VC podcast. Harry launched the podcast as a teenager in 2015 and has since interviewed thousands of investors, entrepreneurs, and startup founders. The two unpacked how founders can overcome barriers to growth in today’s tech sector, and Harry asked Alex what he likes about London.

“I’m impressed by the passion of London,” Alex replied. “I came here thinking I was going to get a lot of rain. I got vibrancy and dynamism, both culturally as well as in business.”

The event also featured her Royal Highness Princess Beatrice of York – founder of BY-EQ and Vice President of Partnerships and Strategy at Afiniti – hosting a fireside chat with Priya Dogra, Former President of WarnerBros Discovery for EMEA, and Sakshi Chhabra Mittal, founder and CEO of Foodhak, a science-based meal delivery service. The three discussed the impact tech is having on mission-driven companies and strategies for designing businesses in the modern age, as well as how to bring more women into tech.

Exceeding £1 trillion, the UK’s technology market is the largest in Europe and the third-largest in the world. The country has been an important piece of the Spotify puzzle since it launched in 2008. Nowadays as one of our biggest research and development hubs, it’s where the company experiment with some of its newest launches and products, including audiobooks in Premium, video-based learning courses, and, most recently, AI Playlist.

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What is credit invisibility and how can it affect your finances?

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A woman paying groceries with cash
Only paying in cash will make it difficult to build a credit history and may make you may be credit invisible

If you’ve never taken out a loan or owned a credit card, you may be credit invisible. This means that financial institutions have no records to show that you’ve borrowed money responsibly in the past, which lenders largely rely on to approve you for financial products.

Everybody starts off with invisible credit. However, it can affect you in more ways than one, so it’s important to seek ways to build your credit history as early as you can. Here, we look at some of the effects of credit invisibility on your finances, and offer a few tips to start becoming credit visible.

Access to financial products

Before being approved for any kind of financial product in which you borrow an amount of money, a lender will run a credit check to ensure you have a good credit history. Usually, they’ll be looking to see that you have a high credit score – this would prove that you’ve borrowed money responsibly in the past, and have been able to continuously keep up with repayment obligations.

When you have no credit history for lenders to look at, it can make it harder to qualify for financial products. Your lender will know that you have no prior experience managing borrowed money, and therefore can’t for certain know that you’ll pay any amount back that you borrow. This can be true of all kinds of borrowing options, such as credit cards and loans.

Low limits, high fees

Ultimately, everyone starts off with limited or invisible credit history. So, there will always be a restricted number of financial products available to those looking to borrow for the first time.

However, you may not be offered the best deal if you’re credit invisible. For example, you might be offered a lower limit on a credit card you apply for, or a smaller sum of money on a loan. Plus, you’re likely to face higher interest fees than those who have a visible credit history.

Stagnated progression

Most people will need to borrow money from a lender at some point or another. Usually this will be to pay for a big life expense – you may be buying a house with a mortgage, or purchasing a car on finance. Having limited access to credit options can make goals like these much harder to work towards and obtain. Unfortunately, this could have a knock on effect on your overall quality of life.

Limited access to financial products means that you’ll largely have to rely on your own savings to make any big purchases – this could set you back years when it comes to owning a property.

How can you become credit visible?

Luckily, credit invisibility impacting your quality of life in the long-term is a worst-case scenario. As long as you take a proactive approach towards your finances, you can easily remedy your credit invisibility.

There are plenty of simple steps you can take to become credit visible – you can get on the electoral roll, link your current account to a credit reference agency, or take out a monthly mobile phone contract. These tasks won’t necessarily prove that you can borrow money responsibly, but they’re a good place to start.

Next, you’ll want to look into credit options. Taking out a credit card or loan with a low limit and a high interest rate can seem like an unappealing option, but as long as you can cope with the financial responsibility, it’ll be worth it in the long run. By sticking to your limit and repayment commitments, you’ll prove to your lender that you are a responsible borrower. In turn, this will be reflected on your credit report, and your credit history will begin to take shape. Using such a product responsibly is likely to boost your credit score rather swiftly, which can qualify you for further credit options. You may even find that after a set period of time, your lender is willing to increase your limit and offer a lower rate of interest on your product.

Getting started

Keen to start building your credit history? Do plenty of research on the products available to you before making any long-term commitment. To ensure that you can keep up with the financial responsibility, create a detailed financial plan for the best results.

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Extreme tourism market to reach $91 Billion

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Extreme Tourism Market to Reach $91.0 Billion
Mountain climbing held the highest extreme tourism market share in 2022 | Photo: Connor Moynihan

A recent report published by Allied Market Research forecasts that the global extreme tourism market, valued at $24.2 billion in 2022, could reach $91.0 billion by 2032.

The growing influence of social media is a powerful force surging demand in the extreme tourism market, which attracts travellers those leaving their comfort zones to engage in activities that are considered high-risk, adventurous, or unconventional, such as skydiving, bungee jumping, and rock climbing. Thanks to platforms such as Instagram and YouTube, serving visuals and tutorials breathtaking adventures,

Travelers, inspired by visually appealing content on platforms such as Instagram and YouTube, are actively seeking out thrilling experiences to share on their own social networks, driving a sense of Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) among younger demographics, compelling them to actively participate in adrenaline-pumping activities to create their shareable moments.

By adventure type, the mountain climbing segment held the highest market share in 2022, accounting for more the two-fifths of the global extreme tourism market revenue and is estimated to maintain its leadership status throughout the forecast period. However, the skydiving segment is projected to manifest the highest CAGR of 15.2% from 2023 to 2032.

25 to 45 years is the age group holding the highest market share since 2022, according to the report, accounting for more than two-fifths of the global extreme tourism market revenue. The segment is estimated to maintain its leadership status throughout the forecast period. However, by 2032 it will be below 25 years segment that is projected to have the highest CAGR: 15.3%.

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