Industry Research

Business Travel Spurs $547 Billion In GDP, 7.4 Million Jobs

Posted on July 17, 2017

(Pexels Creative Commons photo via Negative Space)

(Pexels Creative Commons photo via Negative Space)

BOSTON -- A new report issued today at GBTA Convention 2017 by the GBTA Foundation, the education and research arm of the Global Business Travel Association, and American Express Global Business Travel (GBT), highlights the positive economic effects of business travel on the nation’s economy.

The study, titled ‘The U.S. Business Travel Economic Impact Report,’ reveals business travel was responsible for about 3% ($547 billion) of U.S. GDP in 2016. Also, the research found for every 1% change in business travel spending, the U.S. economy gains or loses 74,000 jobs, $5.5 billion in GDP, $3.3 billion in wages, and $1.3 billion in taxes.

The study found in 2016, the nation’s businesses spent $424 billion to send travelers out on the road for 514.4 million domestic business trips. The business travel industry supports 7.4 million jobs and generated $135 billion in federal, state, and local taxes. Much of business travel’s contribution to the economy accrues directly to industries that serve business travelers, but their supply chain beneficiaries received an additional indirect contribution of $132 billion.

“Business travel matters – it is a critical driver of the economy,” said Michael W. McCormick, GBTA executive director and COO. “In a time where many policies have created uncertainty and disruption around travel, this study shows the importance of enacting pro-travel polices to our nation’s bottom line.”

David Reimer, senior vice president and general manager, North America, American Express Global Business Travel, said, “The way people and companies conduct business has undergone transformative, digitally-led changes in the past 20 years. Yet, the U.S. Business Travel Economic Impact Report shows face to face interaction enabled by business travel remains a critical business tool. Today’s modern business travelers want access to all content, to the best personalized rates and fares, and via consumerized channels. To sustain business travel’s economic impact, our industry must continue to evolve to meet the needs of these travelers.”

Click to enlarge (GBTA graphic)

Click to enlarge (GBTA graphic)

Breaking Down the Business Trip
In 2016, the average amount spent per business fell 2.2% to $520, including $163 on lodging, $180 on transportation, $94 on food and beverages in restaurants, $33 on entertainment, and $50 on shopping and merchandise. These averages include domestic and international inbound trips, as well as day and overnight trips.

About half (48%) of U.S. business trips were taken for transient purposes (sales trips, client services, government and military travel, and travel for construction or repair), while 28% were taken for group travel purposes. The remaining 25% of trips were taken for a combination of business and leisure. Three-quarters of the business trips taken in the U.S. in the last year included an overnight stay. About 40% of business trips included a 1-2 night stay, 22% included a 3-4 night stay, and 14% included stays of 5+ nights.

A personal car or truck (35%) was the most popular mode of transportation among U.S. business travelers in 2016, followed by airplane (28%), and rental cars (13%). The largest share of business travel stays was in traditional hotels (42%) with 18% staying in other accommodations, including sharing economy properties, their own second home, or B&Bs.

Popular Business Destinations
Domestic business travel accounted for about 94% of total trip-oriented business travel spending in the U.S. in 2016. Not surprisingly, most business trips were taken to destinations with higher population densities and states with large business centers. This includes states in the Pacific region, those in the Northwest and Southeast, as well as Central and Mountain states like Illinois, Michigan, Texas, and Colorado.

Defining The Modern Business Traveler
U.S. business travelers have an average household income of just over $82,000 and more than 60% are men. Just over one-third of U.S. business travelers have obtained a bachelor’s degree, while just less than one-third have a graduate or professional degree. They are well distributed across age cohorts – about half are under the age of 45 with the other half over the age of 45, and nearly 60% are married.

More Information
The report, The U.S. Business Travel Industry: Business Travel’s Impact on Jobs and the U.S. Economy in 2016, is available exclusively to GBTA members by clicking here and non-members may purchase the report through the GBTA Foundation by emailing [email protected] Click here to view a free preview of the research.

During GBTA Convention 2017, the GBTA Foundation will host an education session inspired by the research, sponsored by American Express Global Business Travel, focused on how business travel impacts the U.S. economy featuring study highlights. The session will take place on Tuesday, July 18 at 9:30 am ET.

About the GBTA Foundation
The GBTA Foundation is the education and research foundation of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), the world’s premier business travel and meetings trade organization headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area with operations on six continents. Collectively, GBTA’s 9,000-plus members manage more than $345 billion of global business travel and meetings expenditures annually. GBTA provides its growing network of more than 28,000 travel professionals and 125,000 active contacts with world-class education, events, research, advocacy, and media. The Foundation was established in 1997 to support GBTA’s members and the industry overall. Information, see and

Related Topics: business travel, corporate business, corporate travel, GBTA, Global Business Travel Association, industry events, industry trends, meetings and conventions, research and trends

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