Many travelers, especial those traveling abroad, are exposed to dangerous risks to their safety and well-being. Hardly a year goes by without hearing about a natural disaster, public unrest, act of terrorism, or outbreak of an infectious disease – all of which directly impact travelers.
2016 was an especially tumultuous year when terrorists struck targets throughout Europe, in areas that had previously been considered safe. In December of 2016, 12 people were killed and 56 injured at a Christmas market in Berlin. Airports in Brussels and Turkey were the site of deadly bombings. An explosion at a check-in-area of Shanghai's main international airport injured four people. In the first week of 2017, a mass shooting at a Fort Lauderdale airport left five people dead.
In a recent study conducted by the education and research arm of the Global Business Travel Association in partnership with AIG Travel, an overwhelming majority of employers ranked traveler safety as a major concern. The report is based on an online survey of 167 travel managers in the U.S. and Canada. The study reported that 95 percent of travel professionals feel that providing insurance or assistance services to employees is valuable for international trips; and 76 percent agreed both are valuable for domestic trips as well.
Yet, per the same study, only 41 percent of employers offer risk management training and 26 percent offer GPS tracking of travelers. Those numbers are expected to expand quickly in 2017.