Business travel is well on its way to a full comeback — in a big way — with an accelerated spend that is expected to rise above pre-pandemic levels next year.
The prediction that global spending will reach $1.4 trillion in 2024, soaring to $1.8 trillion in 2027, comes in a new report published by the Global Business Travel Association and Visa, released earlier this week during the 2023 GBTA Convention in Dallas.
The outlook reverses what the association shared in its report last year, when concerns over inflation, high energy prices and other factors pushed back global business travel’s projected recovery to 2026.
After plummeting during the Covid-19 pandemic, spending on global business travel rose 47% to $1.03 trillion in 2022–with an additional 32% growth anticipated this year. The gains were attributed to pent-up demand, more favorable global economic conditions and “recession risks that have yet to happen,” according to the GBTA.
“The headwinds that were anticipated to impact the rebound of global business travel over the past year didn’t materialize, and that is good news,” said Suzanne Neufang, CEO of GBTA. “This latest forecast now indicates an accelerated return to pre-pandemic spending levels sooner than anticipated as well as growth ahead in the coming years.”
The fresh outlook comes close to the recovery timeline GBTA predicted in 2021, which also flagged 2024 as a recovery mark.
GBTA cautioned that while a “promising rebound” is anticipated, factors including remote work, new meeting technology and a focus on sustainability could extend the recovery period.
In its survey of 4,700 business travelers in 22 countries across Europe, Latin America, Asia Pacific and North America, GBTA found that 82% said traveling for business was very (48%) or moderately (34%) worthwhile to achieve their business objectives.
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