Getting 2015 underway

Business Travel in 2015.

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Now that most of Gauteng’s working population has finally returned from the summer holiday, returning economic hub’s traffic and the economy to its normal state with start of the school term, we can refocus on what is in store for us in 2015. Some of the key influencing factors are the same as we were dealing with in 2014. 

GBTA Southern Africa will be bringing the latest news, research, and learning resources from the vast GBTA global network, and from local home grown sources. We are actively searching for “made in South Africa” successes and savvy solutions from our members and sponsors. We have unique solutions designed for our unique environment all of which of worthy of being showcased.

Terrorism continues to evolve in all its ugliness and is impacting people’s everyday lives in virtually every corner of the world. Government threat level assessments remain high, and security measures at airports and other public areas will continue to tighten. It again highlights the importance of Duty Of Care and Risk Management within your travel policy.

 The loss of many lives in high-profile commercial aircraft incidents during 2014 has had an impact on the impression of travellers where safety is concerned. This belies the fact that 2014 saw the lowest recorded number of fatal commercial air crashes with 21 in total, and the 6th lowest fatality rate since 1955. Scheduled commercial air travel therefore continues to be the safest form of transport given that an estimated 33 million scheduled commercial flights took place in 2014.

The startling fall of over 50% in the oil price is benefiting households and businesses, but travel managers should not factor in any reduction in air fares or fuel surcharges. This at least lessens the impact of oil’s probable price recovery during 2015; where oil prices are concerned it may be that the proverb is reversed; what goes down must go up again.

The Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives but is receiving less headline space in the international media, unless a case is detected outside of Africa. We hope that the current outbreak is brought under control and that effective treatments or vaccines are developed.

Load shedding looms large again as Eskom says the country’s power supply would remain severely constrained in the coming months while Eskom deals with its maintenance backlog. In February 900 MW will be taken off the grid when one of the Koeberg nuclear power station’s units is scheduled to undergo maintenance. The impact on business and meetings is something we will monitor during 2015.

SAA is on another turnaround and restructure programme, and Flysafair is the first “new-old” carrier to enter the domestic market since the demise of 1Time. Fares are not startlingly different overall, but travellers without checked baggage may find them beneficial, particularly for those booking well in advance. The advent of a third competitor is however most welcome.

Travel distribution advances may, ironically, refresh the need within corporations for experienced travel managers who will likely be required to restore some order in a growing “open source” booking environment.

The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), the voice of the global business travel industry, congratulated Board Members Mick Lee of WINiT and Rita Visser of Oracle as well as Foundation Board Chair Steve Singh of Concur for being named among the Business Travel News (USA) Top 25 Most Influential Executives of 2014.

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