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Traveller security takes priority w Swine Flu rise

1 MAY 2009

Traveller security takes priority with Swine Flu on the rise


Global corporate demand for traveller tracking and alert services is expected to rise sharply as a result of the H1N1 Influenza (Swine Flu) outbreak, according to corporate travel management consultancy, FCm Travel Solutions.

FCm said the outbreak had already resulted in a significant increase in corporate enquiries relating to traveller security and protection.

“Our clients are demonstrating a higher level of caution and vigilance at this time,” said FCm New Zealand general manager, Jenny Macdonald.

“We are encouraging corporates to take a number of essential steps needed to protect their travellers.” These include:

• preventing any ill staff from travelling overseas in the short term
• delaying any travel to affected areas such as Mexico
• ensuring any staff who are ill and have just returned from overseas travel immediately seek medical attention
• consolidating all travel bookings to assist in traveller tracking if needed
• giving all their contact details to their travel manager
• ensuring their people are fully covered by travel insurance
• visiting websites such as the World Health Organisation’s (www.who.int) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s website www.safetravel.govt.nz on a daily basis for regular updates.

“Companies must acknowledge that with this outbreak, as with other global events such as natural disasters or political unrest, there can be no compromises in traveller safety,” Ms Macdonald said.

“Traveller safety and security has to remain a priority, even now, during the global economic downturn.

“Corporates need to be vigilant in understanding what’s happening in the world while their people are travelling –or planning their travel - and how major events can potentially impact them. Even if their people are not travelling to a specific hotspot, their flights can be affected if selected airlines are changing schedules or cancelling services.

“Companies also need to be thorough and up-to-date with their insurance cover, as outbreaks like this can occur at any time and their people need to be protected.”

FCm provides 24/7 monitoring of global news and events, and issues travel alerts tailored specifically to the information needs of each business.

“This information puts companies on the front foot and allows them to make informed decisions about whether their people should travel or whether they need emergency support,” Ms Macdonald said.

“Provided we have all of the company’s travel data, we can track individual business travellers in the event of a major incident, and provide 24/7 emergency assistance in any part of the world. FCm can also assist with the transfer of travellers out of high-risk locations, by managing last minute changes to itineraries or by connecting our clients with specialist rescue groups if needed.”

Ms Macdonald said using a travel management consultancy with global reach, and making all travel bookings with one TMC, was critical to locating travellers in an emergency.

“By working with just one consultancy, all data regarding your company policy, your travellers’ profiles, and all bookings, is held centrally and can be accessed quickly,” she said.

“It’s important to ensure that all hotel bookings are made through your TMC as well. Knowing that an employee is in a particular city, or knowing that an employee is in that city and staying at an affected hotel, has very different consequences.

“FCm’s Secure service is world-class and gives companies the ultimate peace of mind that they are doing the right things to protect their people,” he said.

For further information about the FCm Secure range of services, visit http://www.nz.fcm.travel to contact your local FCm business.

ENDS

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