BT4Europe, the European network of business travel associations, has urged the corporate travel industry to work together to ensure the sector becomes more “resilient” following the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The group in its latest position paper, published on Tuesday (14 March), is calling for the EU to learn the lessons of the health crisis and create a new regulatory framework to better prepare the sector for potential future emergencies.
The paper, which tackles the key issues for the European corporate travel sector, said: “The challenges include understaffing, travel-related ticketing and pricing restrictions, and the current regulatory regime which is no longer fit for purpose and is holding back the sector's dynamic development.”
BT4Europe is urging the EU to ensure a “level playing field” for all modes of transport on ticketing and pricing, including cross-border travel, by creating “one-stop” ticketing through the EU’s forthcoming Multimodal Mobility Digital Services initiative (MDMS).
Odete Pimenta da Silva, chair of BT4Europe's Economic Impact Working Group, added that the group wanted the EU to “act proactively” to adopt uniform rules and reduce bureaucracy to allow easier cross-border working and job rotation following the trend towards more flexible working.
The EU is also being urged to use a planned review of EU passenger rights rules to “introduce end-to-end protection” for travellers as part of a move towards multi-modal journeys.
Pimenta da Silva, who is managing director of the Netherlands Association for Travel Management (NATM), said that “not enough” has so far been learned from the impact of the pandemic and there needed to be new “guidance and tools” drawn up for potential future health measures.
“A more robust and resilient business travel framework can be adopted which can better respond to future emergencies,” she added. “We would like to start discussions to overcome these challenges.
“Seamless mobility across borders is a challenge and is a fragmented experience for passengers. To address this, you need standardisation and a level playing field on ticketing and prices, including cross-border ticketing.”
Pimenta da Silva urged the wider industry and the EU to come out of their “silos” and work together to address these issues.
“By working together we can create a sustainable and resilient business travel industry that contributes to the economic development and growth of Europe,” she said.
“We are at the beginning of a process – we need to bring the message of the importance of business travel to national governments and the impact it has on the economy. We have to be more visible.
“Everybody is working in silos – be it the EU or the industry, they are all working in silos. They don’t think or work out of the box. People should be open minded and work together on these topics.”
BT4Europe's position papers can be access those this link