As the global meetings and events industry eagerly awaits for a vaccine so that business travel can resume, the lack of travel is taking a toll on the mental health of many. Along with a major slump in the economy, business closures, layoffs, isolation and more, it does not come as a surprise why more people are affected psychologically.
In a survey conducted by Blackbox Research, 55 percent of respondents in South Korea stated that the COVID-19 outbreak had a major impact on their business travel plans, while almost half of the 4,111 respondents across nine countries in Asia had their business travel plans interrupted.
For many business travellers, this may mean a disruption to the rhythm and routine of life they’ve built. The way we connect with our colleagues, customers and partners is changed. These connections can be important for some of us who work better in company and with support.
According to the 2020 AMEX Trendex Report, 78 percent of 2,000 consumers surveyed in the U.S. stated that travelling is one of the top activities that they miss the most. Around 48 percent indicated that the lack of travel is making them anxious and stressed.
Even as countries look inwards to the domestic market for business opportunities, many are keeping their international audiences engaged and updated with initiatives, incentives, conversations and storytelling.
In Thailand, the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) team continues to engage the global business events community in conversations, following their ‘I M PEOPLE FOCUSED’ marketing campaign in June to stimulate the return of international incentive travel programmes and corporate meetings.
Understanding the psychological benefits of travel, TCEB gathered three international event organisers to share what they miss about travelling and Thailand – the people, the culture and the art of gathering.
Ian Cummings, Global Vice President, Commercial at CWT Meetings & Events, United Kingdom, elaborated: “I’ve been to Thailand many times now for business and for pleasure to enjoy the great facilities, the amazing locations, the stunning food, the rich culture, but the constant throughout all of these is the warmth of the people. Nothing is too much trouble to make sure your stay is an enjoyable one. I believe that the Thai people truly derive pleasure from the fact that they are helping your stay be the best it can be in their country.”
Lucas Xue, Vice President of Marketing for Infinitus (China), reminisced about the idyllic seaside lifestyle and pristine beaches of Pattaya, while remembering the time-honoured and elegant temples that Thailand has to offer. “Each time, Thailand’s charming tropical scenery, unique folk culture and excellent cuisine never fail to evoke wonderful memories.”
Elaine Lau, Managing Director, La Global Travel, Malaysia, highlighted the key reasons why she misses working with Thailand: “True to their nature, they’re always so passionate and determined to find new possibilities in helping us to realise some of our ideas and concepts. Sometimes these ideas are outside of their comfort zone or even outside of their product offering or services. But at the end of the day, they understand the importance of unity and working together as a team towards a specific goal.”
Incentivising employees has always been a great way to ensure that employees stay motivated to do their job to the best of their ability, raise morale and increase job satisfaction. As incentive travel takes a backseat in this climate, the business events industry can only hold its breath, adapt to survive and do our part by ensuring all safety measures are adhered to until we ride out this pandemic.