The EU updated the list of countries whose citizens can travel into the Schengen territory
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To boost the economy through trade and commerce, many countries are now focusing on restarting international business travel as part of their post-pandemic recovery plans. Although there are many hurdles on the way, including chances of a rise in the number of imported cases, most governments believe that the time has come to lift restrictions on business-to-business travel albeit with containment protocols in place.
The idea of opening borders also found support from Mike Ryan, head of WHO's emergencies programme, who said that keeping international borders shut long term is ‘not a sustainable strategy’.
Travel experts believe that owing to the economic downturn, the volume of business travel will not return to the pre-pandemic days any time soon. Therefore an early start to the segment is necessary to prevent further damage.
According to media reports from Japan, the nation is in talks with several countries, including China, Thailand and Vietnam, regarding entry to business travellers. Many countries have made it mandatory for travellers to have certificates of negative PCR test results which have been obtained within a specified time limit, so the Japanese government is planning to implement a reservation system for business travellers to get their tests before they depart for trips abroad. Through this system, business travellers will be able to get themselves tested at nearby registered hospitals and obtain results quickly.
A South Korean media house has reported that recently the country has decided to exempt business people returning from work trips to China, Vietnam and Cambodia in less than 14 days, from mandatory quarantine upon arrival.
In India too, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech at the recently held India US Business Council assuring global investors of trade opportunities and significant returns on investments is being looked upon by many as an indirect encouragement for starting business travel.
The Union government is thinking of easing restrictions to allow business travel between select countries and India, according to media reports. India has already initiated ‘air transport bubble’ between India and the US, France and Germany. Although it is open to travellers under certain special categories for now, the Indian business community hopes that the scope would be further widened.
However, according to several frequent business travellers, easing business-to-business travel may not be an end itself. Besides swiftly obtaining mandatory certificates of negative PCR report, health protocols for business travellers, including medical insurance, also have to be taken into consideration.
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