Sunday 26 January 2020

*GUEST BLOG* Top Travel Risks in 2020

The two most important causes of travel risks in the year ahead? The impact of climate change and potential final year of the Trump administration. That’s according to leading travel risk intelligence company Riskline. Suzanne Sangiovese, Operations Manager - Americas at Riskline, explains further:

As we progress into the new decade, two risks in particular will underpin the most dangerous security threats this year: the ongoing effects of climate change and the potential final year of the Trump administration.

In the case of the former, it will be the mostly unseen, long-term effects that are the greater danger, as droughts, floods or fires (such as the catastrophic Australia wildfires) destroy land and livelihoods and become the catalysts for new violent conflicts and forced migration.

Meanwhile the prospect that 2020 could be the final year of the Trump presidency bodes ill for international peace. Both allies and antagonists of the United States may feel that the level of impunity they have enjoyed in foreign affairs since 2016 may be coming to an end.

Climate Change and its impact on travel

Sustainability is already proving to be the watchword for 2020 – the impact of climate change on the world is now clear to see. Climate change has led to abnormal patterns of torrential rainfall, devastating floods, severe storms, prolonged heat waves and increased temperatures – all leading to growing water scarcity, droughts and dangerous wildfires. Australia is currently fighting an unprecedented bushfire season, which has been caused by record temperatures and widespread drought.

With the increased frequency of natural disasters – such as Hurricane Dorian which caused massive destruction across the Bahamas in September 2019 – fatalities, business and travel disruptions and power and communication outages are becoming recurrent. Efforts to reverse the damage caused by climate change are insufficient as the United States, the second-largest carbon emitter, plans to withdraw from the landmark Paris Agreement in 2020 if Trump wins another term in office.

A collapsing world order: US 2020, Brexit

This brings me on to the political situation in the US and the UK. The results of the 2015 Brexit referendum in the UK and the 2016 United States (US) presidential election continue to upend long-standing domestic political norms in both countries.

The long-term outcome of both events is unclear at present, but a return to the status quo is unlikely in either country - the pro-Brexit and pro-Trump coalitions that won in 2015 and 2016 have mobilised social forces that will remain on the scene for years to come.

Far-right politicians and media organisations will gain further prominence in the Western world in 2020, particularly as United States (US) President Donald Trump intensifies his campaigning for the presidential election in November. Attacks similar to the deadly March 2019 shootings at a mosque and an Islamic centre in Christchurch, New Zealand, and the August 2019 mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, remain possible particularly in the US, as right-wing groups gain more appeal and expand their presence in mainstream American politics.

When the UK leaves the EU, scheduled for the end of this month (January), this will lead to major economic changes in the trading bloc. At the same time, EU members will face further economic disruptions from the US-China trade war fallout as, so far, none of President Trump's Democratic rivals have promised to remove the tariffs imposed by his administration. 

Although predicting what will happen in 2020 is a fool's errand in an increasingly irrational world, a careful examination of ongoing and emerging trends provides risk professionals with crucial information for businesses planning the year ahead. 

Riskline is a leading travel risk intelligence company providing country and city risk assessments and real-time alert messaging to fulfil duty of care requirements before and during travel.

Suzanne Sangiovese, Operations Manager - Americas at Riskline, is speaking at The Business Travel Show as part of the panel session Forecasting Forum 2020 - The travel price and risk outlook for the next 12 months. Riskline is exhibiting at Stand: B708. The Business Travel Show takes place 26 – 27 February at Olympia, London. Register for your FREE visitor pass at

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