Advertorial: BCD Travel – Safe and Effective Travel Throughout Africa

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“Africa’s macroeconomic prospects remain favourable. In 2013, Africa maintained an average growth rate of about 4%. This compares to 3% for the global economy and underscores again the continent’s resilience to global and regional headwinds. However, growth performance varied widely across country classifications and regions.”African Economic Outlook – African Development Bank

Africa on the Up-and-Up

According to the latest African Economic Outlook, released by the African Development Bank in May 2014, growth on the African Continent is projected to accelerate to 4.8% in 2014 and 5-6% in 2015. Such levels of growth have not been witnessed since the global economic crisis of 2009.

There are several reasons for the considerable growth experienced on the continent, with the rich natural resources of the continent quite possibly topping the list. Predictably, the increase in foreign investment has had a positive impact on travel, with leading aviation data specialist OAG noting that the number of scheduled flights operated to, from and within Africa has increased by more than 50% over the past decade.

These numbers represent exciting prospects for Africa, and for the travel industry in particular, as regional travel will be one of the key drivers behind the continent attaining the immense growth that has been predicted.

Road Warrior Alert

Many South African companies are doing business at a brisk pace in Africa, but what does this growth mean for companies looking at expanding their intra-Africa commercial footprint?

“For the road warrior eager to conquer new markets, the sky is literally the limit. However, expansion into Africa can pose a different set of challenges altogether,” says Kagiso Dumasi, Commercial Manager: Africa of BCD Travel, the third largest corporate travel management company in the world.

“While new business territories offer exciting opportunities, there are also several risks and challenges involved, many of which are from unexpected quarters,” she warns.

Duty of Care

Jim Weighell, Director of Operations Southern Africa of Global Business Travel Association sees Duty of Care as a critical component of effective and ethical travel programmes, with health security holding high importance. He asserts that companies should contract with professional specialists trained and motivated to provide reasoned, rational responses to threats, extraction facilities, and planning advice.

Pro-Active Traveller Management

Kananelo Makhetha, Managing Director of BCD Travel, says one of the greatest, yet more unexpected challenges faced by intrepid businesses looking to new markets are the needs and risks faced by employees being deployed away from home.

“Companies wishing to expand into Africa will benefit substantially by taking proactive steps in ensuring that the general well-being and health of employees receives due attention. As more companies based in Southern Africa look north, instead of globally, for expansion, travel managers, risk managers and other supply chain stakeholders are challenged with coming up with new ways of enabling business through innovative and strategic travel programmes.

“Having the support of an experienced travel partner can go a long way to eliminating risk while minimising inconvenience and misadventure. BCD Travel combines service leadership with flexible technology, intelligent data analysis and strategic solutions to provide unmatched advantages to clients, big and small, worldwide.

“Obviously our extensive global presence, which was recently enhanced by a further 12 new partners in Africa, alongside our substantial buying power, counts for a great deal. Our comprehensive industry insight, consistency in leadership and outstanding client service models have helped us to gain a strong foothold in the travel management business,” adds Makhetha.

The Changing Face of Africa Travel

Dumasi adds that while the larger airlines such as Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways and South African Airways have invested in new aircraft, new routes, frequencies and collaborations in order to offer more options to business and leisure travellers, crisscrossing the continent can prove to be quite an adventure. “Sometimes it’s simpler and cheaper to fly to Europe than to destinations within Africa, making planning for regional travel an onerous task,” she says.

The increase of travel in Africa also means a greater need for corporates to better manage risks such as health and security. According to Dumasi, traveller management, instead of travel management, becomes the most appropriate and effective way of safeguarding the interests and safety of travellers. “If suitably engaged, your travellers will become more active participants in assisting with your company’s travel programme,” says Dumasi. “Their input and experience will be of considerable value for any organisation that is serious about expanding into Africa.”

Advito, an independent operating unit of BCD Travel, says in its Traveller Management Survival Guide that “people tend to overestimate the chances that something good will happen to them and underestimate the probability that something bad will happen – this ‘optimism bias’ is normally what causes travellers to throw caution to the wind.” Advito provides travel management consulting services that guide clients through today’s complex travel environment.

Dumasi cautions that the job of travel risk management is the responsibility of the both the company and the traveller, and that the three Cs – care, communication and common-sense – are vital to reducing.

Staying Healthy While Travelling

Dumasi strongly cautions about the health risks associated with travel, many of which go beyond health scares such as Ebola.  

“It has been established that a vast proportion of the health risks experienced by travellers can be prevented by pre-travel medical screening and interventions. Statistics indicate that pre-existing healthcare conditions can lead to high risks for those travelling and spending lengthy periods away from home,” she says.

“For example, cardiac disease, at between 50 and 70%, represents by far the highest cause of death in travellers.  Trauma, including motor vehicle and pedestrian accidents, homicide and suicide jointly accounts for 20 to 25% of fatalities. Infectious diseases such as malaria, on the other hand, impact between three and five percent of travellers, while medical diseases and conditions such as asthma, diabetes, a burst appendix and others should also be taken into consideration,” asserts Dumasi.

Contact
Kagiso Dumasi
Kagiso.dumasi@bcdtravel.co.za
+27 11 274 4000
www.bcdtravel.com

*This article was paid for by client

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