Bangkok protests underscore need for robust travel risk management

WITH the prevalence of precarious situations like protests, terrorist attacks and natural disasters around the world, a robust travel risk management (TRM) strategy is key for corporates to ensure fulfillment of their duty of care to employees, according to GBTA vice president, operations, Asia, Welf J Ebeling.

Urging companies to implement effective TRM strategies to improve traveller well-being and reduce trip-related stress, especially in view of the current political situation in Bangkok, Ebeling, said: “TRM means the duty of care, the liability companies have when sending travellers into the field. Many companies still don’t understand what type of corporate liabilities there are.

“Controlling of expenses and creating efficiency is just half of the story, while travel welfare is the other half,” he added. “There are potential risks even at home markets…Companies have not just a moral obligation but also a legal responsibility for their travellers.”

Several companies revealed that business travel to Bangkok has been unaffected by the current political unrest as they already have in place TRM policies to assess and cope with such situations.

Said an MNC’s corporate travel manager who declined to be named: “We review travel advisories by governments, but our travel security department will provide our own warnings. For example, we understand that protests are currently restricted to certain parts of Bangkok, so we will advise our employees on the areas to avoid while on business in Bangkok.”

Likewise, Scandinavian Airlines director and general manager, South-east Asia, Australia and New Zealand, Niels Henrik Hansen, commented: “For the (cabin) staff currently in Bangkok, we will update them daily of the political situation in the city – where to go, where not to go, etc.”

Warakorn Sinthuwongsanont, administrator executive/travel Thailand, Ikea Trading (Hong Kong) shared that the Thailand office is reporting on the Bangkok situation to its headquarters, which in turn disseminates constant updates to staff across its global offices.

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