The Business Travel Association (BTA) and Amadeus launched a joint white paper on the Future of Business Travel today ahead of a meeting of MPS in the All Party Parliamentary Group for Business Travel.

The BTA-Amadeus report considers how the sector will recover from Covid-19 through analysis of Amadeus data and interviews with BTA board members.

It looks at the return of corporate travel, the rise of duty of care, demand for contactless technology and the challenge of the ‘talent gap’.

The report notes 80% of business travel executives consider health and safety will be pivotal in driving a return and suggests: “Duty of care is expected to be on all corporates’ minds, making the TMC [travel management company] invaluable to business travel plans.

“Amadeus research shows 74% of corporate respondents will demand a duty of care and risk management procedure before making a booking.”

Those interviewed for the report suggest two to three years’ of technological transformation took place in the first six months of the pandemic and the industry underwent “a seismic change”.

The report argues: “Companies that have navigated the pressures of Covid-19 will emerge leaner but with a deeper understanding of their corporate customer base.

“Many small companies have either been unable to continue trading or have merged with former rivals. This theme of consolidation and collapse is expected to continue into 2022.”

At the same time, it suggests: “Foreign interest and investment in the UK TMC community can be anticipated as big names from the US and Middle East look to expand their presence in post-Brexit Britain.”

But the report notes: “The most pressing concern is the talent gap that will be exposed as travel returns [following] a mass exodus of employees from the sector.

“These are not entry level jobs, but skilled workers who have been snapped up by the professional and financial services industries among others. Business owners now worry about how to compete for the best talent with other sectors.”

BTA chief executive Clive Wratten said: “Working with Amadeus has helped us to identify the key trends and areas to address for the travel industry to recover and navigate a route out of this global crisis.”

Liz Emmott, Amadeus UK general manager and commercial business travel director, said: “It is vital industry stakeholders collaborate to boost traveller confidence and restart an industry that, at its peak, was responsible for generating 10.3% of global GDP.”