Industry Research

Global Business Travel Likely To Advance Despite Uncertainty

Posted on July 20, 2017
The iCARS exhibit at GBTA Convention 2017 in Boston drew heavy traffic this week. (LCT photo)

The iCARS exhibit at GBTA Convention 2017 in Boston drew heavy traffic this week. (LCT photo)

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Global business travel spend approached $1.3 trillion in 2016, advancing only 3.5% over 2015 levels, according to the GBTA BTI Outlook – Annual Global Report & Forecast, a new report released this week at GBTA Convention 2017 by the GBTA Foundation, the education and research arm of GBTA.

Pending many global uncertainties, business travel spending is expected to surge in 2018, advancing 6.1%, followed by 7% percent growth in 2019 and 2020. Business travel spending gains have not reached this level since 2011.
“Global business travel remains a critical driver of the success of organizations around the globe,” said Michael W. McCormick, GBTA executive director and COO. “Stronger footing in emerging markets and continued economic stimulus in the developed world has supported global stability leading to a positive forecast that is unfortunately clouded with more uncertainty than we have seen in decades.”


Unusual Uncertainty
Many signs show the global economy is improving. Consumers are spending, trade and investment are rising, corporate profits and management sentiment are strengthening, commodity prices have stabilized, recessions in Brazil, Russia and Argentina have ended, and China’s soft landing continues. Considering these factors, business travel growth looks solid over the coming years, however, uncertainty abounds. Political polices, geopolitical tensions, and financial concerns have intensified. The Global Economic Policy Uncertainty Index, which began in 1997, has hit an all-time, 20-year high.

(GBTA graphic)

(GBTA graphic)

Some sources of uncertainty could help business travel as lower corporate tax rates are pushed forward and business regulations are rolled back as infrastructure investment increases around the globe. Other factors could threaten business travel, including trade policy renegotiation, terrorism, travel and immigration bans, sanctions, electronics bans, and geopolitical tensions.

The Annual Rankings
For the second straight year in 2016, China topped the charts, surpassing the U.S. as the largest business travel market in the world. The top 15 remained unchanged from last year except for India rising two spots.

Information: The report, GBTA BTI™ Outlook – Annual Global Report & Forecast, 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.

Related Topics: business travel, corporate travel, economic outlook, GBTA, Global Business Travel Association

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