Swine Flu Update: Majority of Companies NOT Canceling Meetings and Travel

Last week my take on the swine flu and its impact on meetings and events was still kind of fuzzy: some companies were restricting corporate travel to Mexico and a few hotels were feeling minor impacts, but overall most people
seemed unnerved when it came to travel South of the Border or elsewhere.

Now the Association of Corporate Travel Executives has come out with a study that gives some hard numbers regarding to the swine flu's effects. In an initial survey of corporate travel managers, ACTE found that 37 percent of companies worldwide are either canceling meetings or restricting travelers from attending them. The majority (63 percent) have not changed their meetings program.

However, apart from meetings, not all business travel is being restricted. The survey found 47 percent of companies have restricted travel strictly to Mexico, while 1 percent said they are limiting travel to solely the United States. About 3 percent said they are restricting travel to both the United States and Mexico.

Such confidence in corporate travel likely comes from a strong feeling of preparedness.

"This initial survey of global business travel managers indicates that levels of corporate preparedness are quite high going into this crisis, with a majority of companies showing confidence in their contagion and pandemic plans," ACTE Executive Director Susan Gurley said in a statement. "Actually, preparedness levels are much higher than they were at the outbreak of the severe acute respiratory syndrome—SARS—in 2003."

ACTE found that 62 percent of companies have a pandemic emergency plan that "covers he evacuation or hospitalization of infected travelers in a foreign country facing an outbreak of contagion." Meanwhile, 58 percent of companies have been upgrading pandemic plans on a regular basis since SARS.
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