10 December 2008 | Paul Snell
Almost half of business travellers are postponing travel to India following the terrorist attacks in Mumbai.
Forty-eight per cent of respondents to the Association of Corporate Travel Executives' (ACTE) survey were stopping travel to the region "until the situation became more settled". A further seven per cent planned to stop travelling to the country completely.
"The response is in keeping with a typical industry reaction," said Susan Gurley, ACTE executive director.
"Subsequent research has revealed that the majority of travel managers with business in India simply want to make sure that their travellers will not get caught up in street demonstrations or public reprisals, should they occur."
But only 12 per cent of the travellers surveyed had requested not to travel to the country, with a further 10 per cent not willing to travel to both India and Pakistan.
The study also found that 78 per cent of firms would be reviewing hotel contracts to increase security and safety of guests. Even those satisfied with current deals said there was room for improvement, such as better surveillance systems, more staff training for evacuations and better co-ordination with local authorities, such as police, fire services and the military.
Gurley added if hotels took the initiative on these benefits, it would give them a competitive advantage among travellers.
But she warned the key word should remain "hospitality" as people do not want to feel like they are staying in an "armed camp". "Everyone wants enhanced security, but they also don't want it evident."
The ACTE surveyed 134 business travellers around the world.