Most corporate travellers would favour rapid Covid tests prior to departure to reduce or replace quarantine restrictions, according to the latest poll of Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) members.

Almost two thirds (63%) of GBTA members in Europe cite government travel restrictions as the greatest barrier to travel, against 43% worldwide.

But the poll, conducted in mid-October, found 90% of GBTA member companies still not open to travelling internationally and only two-thirds (68%) sanctioning travel domestically.

One third (32%) cited company policy as a barrier to travel, with just 9% identifying employee reluctance to travel.

The association called on the UK government to “rethink” Its plans for Covid ‘test and release’ system for reducing quarantine and adopt pre-travel testing as an alternative.

Four out of five GBTA poll respondents (82%) rated face-to-face meetings ‘more’ effective than virtual meetings, with just 14% rating the latter ‘equally effective’ and 2% better.

Three out of five (59%) reported their companies had reduced staff or laid off employees as a result of the pandemic, half (52%) had furloughed employees, and almost half (48%) cut pay.

Just under half (46%) of member companies with furloughed employees report some return to work.

Almost two thirds (62%) said they consider further job cuts ‘likely’ or ‘very likely’. Half (51%) predicted continued furlough and (46%) further pay cuts.

GBTA regional vice-president for Europe Catherine Logan said: “The current patch-work approach to travel, particularly across Europe, is prolonging the effects of Covid-19 on both the industry and the economy.

“Continued border restrictions and quarantine measures are not the answer to combating the devastating effects Covid-19 is having on our industry and the economy.”

Logan added: “It’s evident from our latest poll that our members would welcome the opportunity to travel again in a safe environment and would be satisfied with rapid testing pre-travel.”

GBTA interim executive director Dave Hilfman said: “Regular business travellers are looking forward to returning to travel and the benefits of a face-to-face meeting are undisputable.”

He noted: “Almost all GBTA members (94%) flew for business prior to March 2020, but just 6% have flown since – a clear illustration of the loss of revenue.”

The GBTA poll, conducted on October 12-16, received 927 responses.