ASATA Col­umn

Business Traveller (Africa) - - CONTENTS -

The lat­est from Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Otto de Vries

Fe­male trav­ellers are con­sid­ered the fastest grow­ing seg­ment in cor­po­rate travel world­wide, rep­re­sent­ing al­most half of all busi­ness trips, ac­cord­ing to the Women in Busi­ness Travel Re­port, a study com­mis­sioned by Maiden Voy­age. This ris­ing de­mo­graphic has the at­ten­tion of the travel in­dus­try and is in­spir­ing changes across the value chain, es­pe­cially in the area of safety.

Air­port and rental car park­ing garages are well lit, with work­ing se­cu­rity cam­eras and on-duty at­ten­dants at all hours. Most ho­tels now in­sist that front desk clerks re­frain from an­nounc­ing room num­bers out loud. Many have in­stalled elec­tronic locks with num­ber­less keys and se­cu­rity codes that are changed af­ter each guest leaves.

Still, more needs to be done.

A re­cent Global Busi­ness Travel As­so­ci­a­tion sur­vey of US cor­po­rate travel buy­ers re­vealed as many as seven in 10 buy­ers be­lieve fe­male busi­ness trav­ellers face greater risk on the road than their male coun­ter­parts. Yet, less than half (44%) of re­spon­dents said their com­pa­nies rec­om­mend fe­male-friendly lodg­ing. Three of five travel pro­grammes “rarely or never” pro­vide chauf­feured trans­porta­tion for fe­male busi­ness trav­ellers and only 18% of travel poli­cies specif­i­cally ad­dress fe­male safety.

Talk to your ASATA travel agent about your safety concerns. 73% of all travel agents in South Africa are fe­male, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent Travel Mar­ket In­dex study com­mis­sioned by ASATA, and are at­tuned to the needs of fe­male trav­ellers.

They can help mit­i­gate the risks and make sure that the ho­tel in which you stay is lo­cated in a safe part of town. They can re­quest a room that is not on the ground level, is close to the el­e­va­tors and has locks on the doors and win­dows. They will also be able to bring you up to speed about the lo­cal laws and so­cial norms, as this can pose se­ri­ous, un­in­tended se­cu­rity risks.

Ad­di­tional safety mea­sures will ben­e­fit the en­tire travel in­dus­try. It is im­por­tant that we join forces to en­sure the safety of all, but es­pe­cially of fe­male road war­riors. ■

Otto de Vries ASATA CEO

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