Industry Research

Biz Travel Could See Slowdown

Posted on October 18, 2011

A forecast from the Global Business Travel Association, a Virginia-based trade group for business travel professionals, estimates that spending on business travel in the U.S. will rise 6.9% this year compared to 2010, hitting $250.2 billion.

But the trade group predicts that a tentative economy next year will slow the trend, leading to growth of 4.3%, or $260.9 billion in spending.

A bright spot in the forecast is continued growth in spending for international travel, which the group estimated will grow 7.7% in 2012 to $34.3 billion.

"While international trips are more expensive and time consuming, their reward can be worth every cent," said Michael W. McCormick, executive director of the association.

Meanwhile, international business travel fell sharply at the end of August as corporations worried about future growth, the International Air Transport Association said Monday.

"It is always hazardous to announce the start of a new trend on one month's data, but the decline in August is consistent with what we had been expecting for several months, based on the fall of world trade and the decline in business confidence," the trade group said in a statement.

Premium passengers, represented primarily by business travelers, rose just 2.3% in August from a year ago, versus a 7.5% year-over-year climb in July. The month did benefit from an unexpectedly strong start, IATA said.

Sources: Los Angeles Times/Marketwatch.com

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