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Business Travel in 2021

Robin Joffe
Partner-President Japan K.K., Country Head Indonesia

After a year and a half in the COVID era, most business travel has halted or trickled down by over 90% and in some countries, 100%, according to many international organizations. Business travel has changed in many aspects and will not return to pre-COVID levels anytime soon. Many have predicted a return somewhat in Q4 2021 or by Q3 2022 at the latest. I doubt this.

Travel needs to be categorized in two ways

1. Domestic Travel - air travel, train car, etc. In Japan, for example, most travel has stopped, but there are some cases for essential travel like fixing equipment or face-to-face meetings. In the US, business travel is coming back but to a lesser degree than 2019 numbers.

2. International Travel - air predominantly. Most travel has been halted for a number of reasons, including PCR test requirements and quarantines of one week to 14 days - some even as high as three weeks. Some countries are totally locked down. Due to this, I expect most international business travel to remain blocked until the second half of 2022.

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