08 Aug Go-to Apps and Sites for Global Travel Updates
Beyond reading the news for coronavirus updates, how much does anyone know about what’s happening in the global mobility industry and how it’s making adjustments for business travelers and expats in general?
It hasn’t been easy, but those working in the recruitment and travel industry know there has to be a way to keep themselves informed. If there will be new quarantines and lockdowns again, many people will rely on technology to address challenges or restrictions and how they can go about their business in COVID-19 world. According to App Annie, users had spent 1.6 trillion hours on their smartphones in the first half of the year. At the same time a 220% business app usage had increased.
While remote employees fared well by using collaborative business tools to resume work activities, assignees have relocation issues before even thinking about getting accustomed to remote working.
Travel with ease
The spike in global Covid-19 cases had pushed countries to impose strict travel restrictions. The travel limitations had a profound effect in the global mobility industry. Currently, global mobility is placed at the forefront in maintaining up to date and reliable information on a country’s travel regulations where their assignees are situated.
In an attempt to alleviate the pressures of maintaining such unpredictable data, many mobile applications and websites have emerged, claiming to cover Covid-19-relevant information on countries, cities, accomodations, and airports.
Employers can exploit these tools as a means for their assignees to keep updated on the latest status of their location.
Here are some tools worth mentioning:
Covid Controls. Built by engineers, this map-based tool permits international travelers to access timely and reliable information on the latest restrictions of a particular country. The tool also provides travelers present-day data on the number of coronavirus cases with links to dependable sources.
TripIt. The popular trip organizer offers a comprehensive website providing relevant links to public health and safety regulations such as the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Moreover, the website supplies travel provider guidelines inclusive of information on airports, airlines, and accomodations.
App in the Air (AITA). This free mobile travel app allows users to search for travel restrictions with respect to country or airline. It includes a booking tab that immediately notifies the user of banned flights and updates like cancellations during searches.
Sherpa. With a mission to help travelers move freely around the world, this company launched an additional service of planning trips around government announcements in response to the growing demand of up to date news on travel limitations.
Airsiders Compass. Run by a Berlin-based technology company, the website offers curated data from safety measures to Covid-19-related services to immigration and quarantine advisories of airports globally. The website equips travelers to come prepared, fly with ease, and well informed.
Sitata. The health and safety app launched its Covid checker tool. It aggregates coronavirus statistics acquired from trustworthy sources such as the World Health Organization (WHO), John Hopkins’ Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE), Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases (ProMed) and other government public health organizations. The tool is able to track changes in airport closures, social distancing procedures, curfews, transits, and border closures as well.
Check & Fly. iPhone users can use the app to determine which airports have qualified for ACI Airport Health Accreditation (AHA). The mobile application also informs travelers of an airport’s safety procedures to keep passengers safe while traveling.
Google. In response to Covid-19, the widely popular search engine giant added features for travelers. According to Google vice president for product management and travel, Richard Holden, “users can now see the percentage of open hotels with availability and flights.” In addition to that, the company recently introduced driving alerts while navigating with Google Maps, notifying of Covid-19 checkpoints along the way.
Obscurity of tracking apps
Developing a tracking app was thought to eliminate the need for lockdows by tracing who a Covid-19-infected person had been in close contact with, then warning them of the exposure. However, the Brooking Institution states that contact tracing can be a powerful tool only when the prevalence of infection is low and testing is easily accessible.
It further explains the risks of false infections when dealing with a huge volume of individuals. Tracking apps are bound to have errors in determining highly probable transmissions on a case-to-case basis. For instance, two people can still be in close distances but are separated by barriers that apps are still able to penetrate through.
Oxford University also shares that although each individual using a tracking app would likely prevent 2 people from infection, 60% of the population should be voluntarily using the mobile app to observe reduced frequency of lockdowns.