Our export guys spent around half of their time overseas with an equal mix of European and long-haul travel. One used to travel to Paris most weeks sometimes flying, sometimes Eurostar. I used to fly at least once a month. If was long-haul there were often one or two internal flights too.
There isn't a viable alternative to flying to long-haul destinations or visiting Europe for business (other than Eurostar, sometimes). Maybe we should be cutting down on imports and manufacturing more locally?
On the subject of taxation, we already pay one of the highest rates of airport departure tax in the world, so the mechanism is already in place.
The real question is how the government is going to replace the enormous tax revenue created from petrol and diesel if we all switched to electric cars and charged them at home from solar and battery back up
Yes, but I'd include wind.
And against a background of problems with taxes in areas other than transport.
But it can't be adequately addressed at the level of a single country or government...
There isn't a viable alternative to flying to long-haul destinations or visiting Europe for business (other than Eurostar, sometimes).
Thoughts on the mysterious continuing failure of videoconferencing?
We are a big international company and my experience is that Video Conferencing simply does not work well enough. In the early days it was a novelty so people would try to use it and put up with the stuttering video but not used at all now.
We do do a lot of Teleconferencing through Skype and there is an expectation that travel is cut to a minimum and replaced with Skype.
We did revisit Video conferencing a couple of weeks ago for a very important customer meeting involving 3 sites, France and 2 sites in Japan. Despite tech experts in each location testing the system long before the call it was a disaster and really interfered with the flow of the meeting.
We certainly used more video conferencing, but it didn't really take-off. Logically, I struggled to understand why it wasn't used more as it is so much more efficient than travel. The problem is we are humans - many aren't comfortable with interacting via video which tends to bring out a formality and we like to interact personally. A video conference to an overseas distributor just isn't the same as spending the day and then dinner with them and properly understanding them and their culture. Relationships matter. A training course via video isn't the same as a trainer in the room...
I think there's a psychological factor too. Humans discount the cost in time and money of travel and don't consider it when faced with the slightly reduced quality of teleconferencing compared to a face-to-face meeting. As a UK office of a global company we couldn't exist without teleconferencing though another mystery is why it's almost always audio-only when even poor video would help so much (especially to tell that sitting 20 feet away from the mic. to move closer!)
Similarly commuting, no-one seems to factor in wasting 2 or 3 hours a day travelling to a job when they could have a slightly less good job 15 minutes away. And drive there in a 7 like I did for 10 years
That's all true Tony. The bottom line is that people buy from people (in sales), people like to shake hands, have lunch together, build relationships etc. Sometimes the only way to find things out is by being there. We did far more telecon than video. Video seemed to be generally disliked by most.
I went to a working class high school in the US and the vast majority of kids ( my guesstimate would be 90%) had never been out of the State. Those who had were split between those who had been to an adjoining state or Florida. ( I was in Maryland). The situation was slightly different at the state run university I attended. I would guess 80%. You could imagine the incredulity when I said I had taken a job in Australia.
The attitude of most Americans is still, “ why would you want to go anywhere else?”
Well, maybe Cabo, in Mexico. Or Hawaii, does that count?