Business Travelers Grapple with Prejudice on International Trips


Key Takeaways

  • Discrimination and Negative Behaviors in Business Travel.
  • Survey Findings: 57% Witnessed or Faced Negative Incidents.
  • Concerns Include Discrimination Based on Race, Gender, and LGBTQ+ Status.
  • Importance of Understanding Cultural Sensitivities and Geopolitical Situations While Traveling for Business.
  • Emphasis on Educating Teams about Local Social Norms and Risk Profiles.

It’s not always good for business class travelers because of the discrimination they face from other people.

Survey Findings

A recent survey commissioned by security firm World Travel Protection revealed startling findings: 57% of UK business travelers have witnessed or faced “negative behaviors” while on international assignments. 

Disturbingly, 20% reported experiencing or observing discrimination based on race or gender. Women, alarmingly, were twice as likely (31%) as men (16%) to report such encounters.

According to a Business Travel News Europe report, the study highlighted another concern: 14% of these travelers felt compelled to conceal their sexuality or saw colleagues doing the same. 

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Avoidance Due to Anti-LGBTQ+ Regulations

A significant 10% refused or knew of someone who refused to journey to countries with anti-LGBTQ+ regulations.

“Witnessing incidences of prejudice and abuse are still too prevalent for business travelers, and when you’re in a different country with a different culture it can be difficult to know how to respond in order not to put yourself or your traveling party at risk,” said Kate Fitzpatrick, regional security director, EMEA, at World Travel Protection, per the report.

“This research shows the importance of not only educating your teams about the potential geopolitical situation of the destination they’re visiting, but also the local social norms and cultural sensitivities to ensure that – as far as possible – respect and tolerance are top of the agenda on all sides,” he added.

Comprehending Risk Profiles

World Travel Protection accentuates the importance of comprehending the risk profiles of traveling members, which should encompass travel history, previous roles, pre-existing health conditions, and aspects like gender, race, ethnicity, and physical and mental health.

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What We Think

The findings revealing discrimination and negative behaviors in business travel are concerning, particularly the reported instances of racial, gender-based discrimination, and concealment of LGBTQ+ identity.

It’s critical for organizations to prioritize education on cultural norms and geopolitical landscapes for safer and more respectful travel experiences. Emphasizing respect and tolerance is key, as highlighted by Kate Fitzpatrick.

Understanding risk profiles and promoting awareness about diverse backgrounds among travelers can help mitigate such incidents and ensure safer and more inclusive business travel.


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