The newest edition of the Business Travel Quarterly Outlook – United States, highlights stability in business travel in the first quarter of this year, although travel to European destinations still remains worrying due to the looming European debt crisis and rising air fuel prices.
The association, in its 2012 international business travel forecast, predicts a 4.6 percent increase in business travel expenditure and a slower rate of growth in person-trips of 0.8 percent. However 2011 has been a good year for business travel, with the total spending figure of $251 billion showing growth compared to a total travel spend of around $234 billion in 2010. Split under various headings, the 2011 business travel spending included $111.7 billion transient business travel expenses, $107.7 billion group business travel expenses, and $31.6 billion of international outbound travel expenditure.
Michael W McCormick, the company executive director and chief operations officer, said, ‘It seems like we can start to breathe a sigh of relief about business travel. The continued stability of business travel bodes well for the economy as a whole and for continued recovery in the employment market as business travel is a leading indicator of both. While the outlook for Europe is cloudy and economic growth in Asia is slowing, things still look much better than they did twelve months ago.’
The GBTA Business Travel Index (GBTA BTI) for the 2011 fourth quarter reached 116, two points lower than the projected value in GBTA’s preceding outlook. The index is likely to show steady growth in 2012, with a chance to reach its pre-recession high of 120 in the third quarter of 2012. The second half of 2013 is expected to be a better half for business travel than the first half of the year.
Tad Fordyce, head of global commercial solutions at Visa, said, ‘Whether for business or pleasure, Visa account holders spent more than $235 billion on travel related purchases in 2011, a 14 percent increase from 2010. As a leader in the corporate travel market, Visa is committed to providing best-in-class solutions to our financial institution customers and their clients in the public and private sectors.’