Global business travel has largely ground to a halt during the pandemic. Experts have been raising the alarm that this is the death of business travel as we know it, arguing that it will be a long time before the virus is really gone and that business people have become used to meetings on the likes of Zoom and MS Teams. As a result, many of them no longer see the need for constantly crossing the globe and living out of a suitcase.
We want to urge caution here. There have been similar predictions before, and they were proven wrong. The 9/11 attacks had a negative effect on global business travel, for example, but it found its feet several years later. There was a similar downturn and UJ:https://research.skift.com/report/travel-winners-and-losers-during-the-2008-financial-crisis-lessons-for-covid-19/+&cd=14&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>revival in business travel after the global financial crisis of 2007-09.
In 2015, the International Air Transport Association found that it takes at least five years for the industry to recover from substantial short-term shocks. But despite those bumps, global airline traffic has shown stable long-term growth since the 1970s. Clearly, the longer the pandemic lasts, the longer the recovery may be, but it will probably come.
A revival in global business travel is likely to vary across sectors and the required location of travel. One sector that is centre stage right now, and arguably more insulated from the pandemic than others, is life sciences.
Medical device companies such as Medtronic and Roche have been benefiting by selling equipment to help fight the virus, such as ventilators and testing kits. Pharmaceutical companies such as AstraZeneca and Pfizer are banking on producing a vaccine before 2021.