Riskline, a global travel-risk intelligence company, has compiled a list of predictions for the coming year that could affect the travel and meetings industries, including extreme weather and the continuing impact of Covid-19 across the world. The potential issues for travelers and travel managers in 2022 were compiled by the company’s team of analysts across the world who monitor travel news, security developments and political crises in person.
According to Riskline, climate change is likely to exacerbate extreme weather conditions in the future, testing the limits of emergency readiness and infrastructure. Expect more catastrophic floods, wildfires, hurricanes, cyclones and droughts.
Meeting the disruptions caused by extreme weather will require a more ambitious plan against climate change, as well as adaptive infrastructure and boosting emergency services to withstand the effect of future natural disasters. Attention will be focused on the planned investments in clean energy agreed on at the recent COP26 summit and the meetings industry's plans to get on board.
Course of the Pandemic and Its Impact
As we all know, the impact of Covid-19 will persist beyond 2021. Work, meetings and other aspects of public life will continue to have hybrid-mode options. To avoid lockdowns, according to Riskline, governments will encourage booster shots, social distancing and restricting public life for unvaccinated individuals.
More supply-chain disruptions and worker shortages are possible, and the hospitality and travel industries in particular will be harder hit by continued uncertainties. Riskline says the Airports Council International Europe forecasts that air traffic in Europe will not return to prepandemic levels until 2025.
Protests against Covid-19 vaccination, as well as vaccine supply and distribution issues in relatively less wealthy countries, will continue into 2022, says Riskline. The fact that the vast majority of the population in some countries is not vaccinated against Covid-19 will mean that restrictions on travel to and from those countries will be maintained in the near term.
Critical Elections in the United States, France and Brazil
In the United States, political polarization will continue, while lingering economic malaise and hesitancy around the vaccine have limited post-pandemic recovery, says Riskline. Travel managers also will have to keep an eye on the lack of commitment to election reform in the country and the trend towards refusing the legitimacy of electoral results.
The travel-risk company also is keeping an eye on France and its 2022 presidential election, and on Brazil, where increasing polarization might be seen ahead of Brazil’s elections next October. Mass demonstrations are a possibility.
The Next Epidemic
The Covid pandemic exposed serious fault lines within societies. For example, right-wing populism has given birth to very vocal politics of defiance against public-health measures in some Western democracies, such as the U.S. and Australia, and international cooperation to fight infectious diseases has also suffered despite global public-private partnerships to develop vaccines. To manage a future epidemic, says Riskline, trust and cooperation must be rebuilt between countries, and between public-health officials and the general public.
A rise in crime will continue in developing countries after seeing a marked rise since the onset of Covid-19, Riskline predicts. Theft, trafficking of goods, bandit attacks and kidnappings have risen in some African countries. Across the Americas, drug traffickers and criminal groups have become more brazen. Gang-related shootings are commonplace in Caracas and in borderlands across Latin America.
Africa-Europe Migration Route
The African continent has low vaccination rates, weak health-care systems and fragile economies, and Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan and Uganda are weathering Covid-19 poorly. The slashing of aid budgets combined with unsustainable living conditions has forced thousands to attempt migration routes through North Africa into Europe. Riskline expects public-health measures that limit migrant arrivals to continue as anti-refugee sentiment in Europe grows.