FCM, the flagship
business division of Australia’s Flight Centre
Travel Group, has exceeded the 50% trading mark of pre-COVID turnover with
the recent reopening of borders and the relaxation of restrictions in several
key Asia markets.
Its Singapore business saw a 62% month-on-month increase in
turnover for March.
“March was an extraordinary month, fueled by fantastic news
from several key Asian markets. The announcement by Singapore [of the
Vaccinated Travel Framework] was the tipping point which drove a marked
recovery for our business in the region,” says Bertrand Saillet, managing
director for FCM Asia, in a statement.
On April 1, Singapore launched the Vaccinated Travel
Framework (VTL) that allows fully vaccinated travelers to enter Singapore
quarantine-free, replacing all existing vaccinated travel lanes and unilateral
Saillet added that this and other developments in the region
would help rebuild not just business travel but also bring a much-needed boost
to the recovery of Asian economies and tourism industry.
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The travel management company expects “accelerated recovery”
from its key Asia markets in the coming months. Its optimism stems from more
countries in Southeast reopening their borders without the need for quarantine
and on-arrival testing, coupled with the anticipated lifting of travel bans
over the next two months from major business travel markets like Hong Kong and
Japan. These developments bode well for Asia’s recovery as well, it added.
FCM stated the corporate business has proven to be resilient
over the last 24 months. It won $1.4 billion of new businesses globally in the
last financial year, gaining clients like Proctor & Gamble, Spotify,
Tupperware, Nationwide, AXA and Atos.
According to FCM, it has also “simplified its implementation
approach for new multi-national clients through a complete redesign of the
integration and onboarding process to address and remove pain points while
reducing average onboarding timeframes by up to 50%.”
Timothy Williams, chief financial officer for FCM Asia, says,
“Transaction levels for corporate travel in global markets, which have opened
since Q4 2021, have seen a bounce-back between 50% to 70% of pre-COVID levels,
with some markets hitting 100% recovery this quarter, performing even better
than pre-COVID levels.
“This positive trajectory indicates a strong desire to
return to in-person meetings for successful business development in 2022, and
we’re confident that Asia’s recovery will mirror that of the Americas and
Europe in the coming months.”
FCM’s booking figures showed companies in the manufacturing
and technology sector are leading the business travel bounce back. Pre-pandemic
both were key markets driving business travel, and they continue to dominate
the charts as markets in Asia reopen at varying rates across the region.
The others in the top 10 industries leading business
recovery (from January 1 to March 31) are: services (includes business
solutions, logistics, medical, insurance), retail trade, finance and insurance,
construction, marine and agriculture, health care and social assistance,
mining, transportation and warehousing.
“Many industries have struggled during COVID with huge
disruptions to their supply chains. As border restrictions start to lift
businesses are returning to travel to ensure they are engaging with customers
and suppliers on a more intimate level,” Williams says.
While 2022 is marked as an optimistic year of recovery for
Asia, Saillet acknowledges that it would not be without some issues.
“Clearly companies need to have confidence that travel is
going to yield positive results for their business, and that the reward is
worth the effort and new focuses that come along with it. While easier border
navigation is a critical component, there are other factors that play a part in
stimulating the return to travel. Once these factors and travelers’ confidence
are overcome FCM is confident that corporate travel is going to come back in a
big way,” he says.
article originally appeared on WebinTravel.