The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) has released its data on business travel spending for the last few years and its forecasts for the next several years. According to the new BTI Outlook, business travel spending was up 5.8% in 2017 compared to 2016. The total business travel market amounted to $1.33 trillion. By the end of this year, that figure is expected to go up another 7.1%. GBTA predicts that the market will reach $1.7 trillion by 2022.
But the GBTA delivered that exciting news with a grain of salt. While the group says that we have been in a so-called “era of uncertainty” for the last several years, the current state of international business and trade is causing a great deal of concern.
Business travel spending has gone up a modest 3-5% per year since 2012, marking a slow recovery from the Great Recession and underscoring a general fear of derailing the global recovery by moving too quickly.
The numbers from this year and last may signify new confidence, but they also come at a time of increasing nationalism around the world and trade wars being threatened or enacted left and right. Trade, of course, is an essential component of international business deals, so global business travel – not to mention the overall economy – is likely to suffer if trade wars continue to emerge.
Other risk factors that threaten the current growth, according to GBTA, include rising interest rates in the United States, maturing business cycles (among the likes of Uber and Facebook) that will lead to slower growth, and rising budget deficits in both emerging and developed markets.
That said, all of the current numbers look good. GBTA pointed out that so far this year 18 of the top 20 business travel markets have outpaced their growth over the last five years. One of the worst travel markets currently is the UK, which saw a decline in business travel spending of -0.7% in 2017, which GBTA attributes to the Brexit vote and its consequences.
At the other end of the spectrum, the two fastest growing business travel markets over the next five years are predicted to be India and Indonesia, gaining 11.3% and 8.7%, respectively. China is the fifth fastest-growing market and is widening the gap between itself and other travel markets, firmly cementing itself as the largest business travel market – a title that used to belong to the United States.
Check out the full article to learn more details from the report. And be sure to give our office a call to arrange business visas for yourself or your whole office. We offer a variety of corporate business visa services as well as individual assistance. Call anytime to learn more, or head over to our Business Visa Services page.
Rob Lee is co-founder of Swift Passport and Visa Services. Originally from Michigan, Rob is an avid fisherman and SCUBA diver who enjoys adventure travel.