Yesterday the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps announced fewer restrictions for high-value business travellers. No longer will they need to isolate or quarantine for fourteen days on their return to England after a business trip abroad. This is welcome news for us all at DrivenByQ. As a business supplier of airport transfers, it could help boost a recovery in our sector.
Listening to the car radio this morning, LBC raised the question ‘what defines high-value business travellers’? The general public were responding with some angry reactions. In combination with this, there was a tirade of responses on Twitter accusing privileged bankers and hedge-fund managers of receiving special treatment for skiing trips.
As someone who works with business passengers, I see the reasoning in the decision to relax the isolation rules. Maybe I take more of a neutral view because of what I witness at the airports on a daily basis? The reality is, high-value business travellers are not all connected to the finance industry. A large percentage are connected to manufacturing and vital jobs in the North West.
With Brexit looming, maybe the government has recognised that business passengers need to travel before the end of the year. These are people who oversee what is supplied to the supermarkets and what consumers expect on the shelves. The same is true for the pharmaceutical industry and the drugs which help with the lives of millions of people.
In the last few months, the business passengers we have seen have not been a privileged few on a jolly. They are concerned senior executives with jobs to protect and industries to sustain. When they travel, it is because they need to rather than want to. They wear a mask, sanitise and follow the prescribed rules – above all they are responsible individuals who try to avoid risk.
When it comes to business, globalization has played a major part in the last few decades. It means large manufacturing companies rise to their position and expand their operation because they are good at what they do: They hire the best staff; invest in the right equipment; pay good wages; encourage training and they provide stable employment for thousands of people across the region.
As the coal and steel industry declined in the 1980s and 1990s, big job losses were prevented by encouraging Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) to invest in North Wales. Not only did they provide employment for thousands of people but they also created countless jobs in the supply chain. The policy of Direct Foreign Investment brought jobs in to our ailing economy.
When talented people exist in these organizations, their skills are needed across multiple sites. They share best practice and help improve the performance of their company. Ask any one of them though and they will tell you, business travel is dull. Airports are slow, flights are tiring and hotel stays are often lonely. Quarantine only adds to this.
If you want companies who play on the world-stage to provide sustainable employment, you have to accept high-value business travellers need to travel. You also have to accept that these are not people on a jovial outing. In fact they are individuals who sacrifice time (away from their families), work hard and above of all, they are the ones trying to protect our economy.