COLUMBUS (WCMH) — International travel, especially business travel, is down dramatically, and a recent Wall Street Journal study predicts up to 36% of business travel may be gone forever.

Now, one local company is finding new ways to help business travelers feel safe.

“Is it possible business travel may never fully recover?” asked Tammy Krings, CEO at ATG Travel. “Business travel is going to be different, for sure.” 

That’s because Zoom and other virtual platforms are proving to be efficient — and cheaper  — especially for internal meetings and training for your own employees. 

“Those travels where you really have to connect with someone, we see the power of being in person as still being very important to building relationships and continuing the desire of having human interaction,” said Krings, whose business is arranging international travel. 

“One of the things we thought early on was that the pandemic would last three to four months, and we needed something to encourage our travelers to get back on the road, help them feel comfortable, and so we started researching masks for that purpose.”

And she discovered — and is now selling — antibacterial masks made with copper fibers

“It’s long been known that copper is antibacterial, and it has properties that will actually kill viruses by making the virus inactivate, meaning that it doesn’t allow a virus to replicate while it is on a copper surface,” she said.

A New England Journal of Medicine study concluded copper can kill viruses, and COVID-19 died within hours of being placed on a copper surface. But researchers don’t know how much of a mask would have to be made of copper for it to be effective. These are 22% copper.

Krings believes it’s enough to make a difference, especially if you are following other safety protocols.

And it might help the ailing travel industry survive.

“We are anticipating about a 35% recovery rate by summer of next year. And then about 60% by the end of ‘21.”

Krings says it’s likely business travel will not approach 2019 levels until at least 2023. The company has applied to the FDA, asking that the copper mask be approved for emergency use during the COVID-19 pandemic

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