Almost three out of four corporate travellers in Europe support the introduction of digital Covid-health certificates, a Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) poll has found.

Two-thirds of GBTA members globally (66%) support digital health verification as a means to reduce the need for quarantine restrictions, with 72% of respondents from Europe considering certification a “good policy” compared with 63% in North America.

Three quarters of those supporting digital health verification (77%) felt it would help business travel resume.

One in ten (11%) thought digital travel certificates for travellers a bad policy, a majority due to privacy concerns, and 23% were ‘indifferent’ or did not know.

The poll found growing optimism about a return to travel among corporate travellers. One in two respondents (52%) said they were more optimistic about the industry’s recovery than a month earlier, compared with 44% in February.

Two in five suppliers (40%) reported corporate bookings had increased since last month, an increase of 21 percentage points on February.

However, half of suppliers (48%) reported corporate bookings unchanged on last month.

A majority (84%) said they would be “comfortable” or “very comfortable” traveling for business after receiving a Covid-19 vaccination.

Just 6% said they would be uncomfortable travelling and 10% were unsure.

A majority of respondents expected domestic business travel to resume in the second half of this year, but International corporate travel was not expected to resume at volume until 2022.

Almost all respondents (92%) said they expect to return to the office by the end of this year. Only 7% reported employees already having returned to the office.

One in ten (13%) expected workers to return to the office in the next one to three months, and two in five (38%) anticipated workers returning to the office in the next four to six months. Just 8% expected a return to take more than 12 months.

Three-quarters (77%) said they expect employees to commute to work less frequently than before the pandemic – and of these respondents, 61% expected there to be less domestic business travel as a consequence.

Half the respondents (49%) cited government restrictions as the greatest barrier to business travel. One in four (25%) blamed company policies, one in 10 (11%) employee reluctance to travel and one in 10 (10%) travel costs.

Respondents in Europe (68%) were more likely to identify government policies as the greatest barrier to business travel than those in North America (43%).

GBTA chief executive Suzanne Neufang said: “We continue our advocacy efforts in Washington, Brussels and London to lobby for a consistent approach to re-open borders and safely allow business travel to resume.”

The GBTA poll was conducted among 680 association members on March 8-14.