UK Business Travel Expenditures Rises in 2012 Second Quarter

The Guild of Travel Management Companies, a UK-based professional association of travel companies, has announced that business travel spending in the UK is increasing at a faster pace than the UK economy.

In its second quarterly transaction survey for 2012, the association has reported that air travel, rail travel, car hire and ancillary services have registered growth in comparison with the same quarter last year, while hotels have maintained a similar level of activity to that in the same period last year.

John Williams, the general manager at GTMC, said, ‘The static figure for hotel transactions may reflect anomalies due to the Olympics. It will be interesting to see what happens in the third quarter.’

While Rail sales in the second quarter of 2012 are lower than those in the 2012 first quarter, at 14 percent growth rate, they still remain better than those reported in the 2011 second quarter. Car hire has also reported a 6 percent increase in the 2012 second quarter compared to the same period last year.

Air travel is up by 2 percent in the second quarter of 2012, compared to same quarter in 2011, while sales of other services, including consultancy services, ferries, visas, currency exchange and meet and greet, are showing a 10 percent increase in the 2012 second quarter, compared to the 2011 second quarter.

The GTMC chief executive officer, Ann Godfrey, said, ‘Once again the business conducted by GTMC members seems to be slightly better than that being reported elsewhere. Whilst not spectacular these figures show that, with caution, things are better than may have been expected.’


Cornwall’s Tourism-Dependent Businesses Report Weak Demand

It’s not just international travel businesses that are feeling the spending squeeze – some of Britain’s most well-known domestic holiday destinations are seeing just a trickle of visitors, many of whom are opting for a shorter, less expensive holiday than usual. Cornwall is one of several regions under the financial weather, with tourism-dependent businesses reporting lower-than-usual revenue.

From hotels to the region’s restaurants, this year’s peak travel season has been fairly commercially underwhelming. While Britain’s economy is officially on the return to health, limited budgets and an all-round avoidance of needless spending have pushed many Britons to forego this year’s short holiday. Even fewer are opting to travel overseas, with a number of travel agents now bankrupt.

Prime Minister David Cameron has called for Britons to help their country’s ailing tourism industry, advising families to travel within the country rather than internationally. Stressing the lower cost of holidaying within the country and the various destinations within the UK, the government has hopes of increasing spending in the tourism industry, which is the nation’s third largest.

As part of a formal tourism recovery plan, the government will offer tax breaks and rebates to hotels and other businesses that cater to domestic tourists. Business rate rooms will be partially reimbursed by the government, encouraging hotels to lower prices and attract low-budget travellers. With many of Cornwall’s businesses struggling to hit targets, it appears that the incentives may be helpful.

But for those who depend on tourism for income, this year’s season is unlikely to hit its peak. From credit crunches to the Icelandic eruption, Britain’s tourism industry will have to survive through one of the worst peak seasons on record. Long-term plans focussing on China and other growing nations will likely make Britain an attractive destination, but they’re unlikely to occur this year.