April 24, 2024

Business travel forecast to recover more quickly than expected

Global business travel spending is expected to fully recover in 2024, a year sooner than previously predicted.

This is according to the GBTA’s latest travel index, the BTI Outlook, which was released today at the association’s Convention in Orlando.

The report forecasts that by 2024 business travel spending will be on pace with the 2019 pre-pandemic spend of $1.4 trillion.

Based on an exhaustive annual study of business travel spending and growth, the BTI Outlook predicts a year-on-year surge of 38% in 2022 as recovery and pent-up demand kicks into a higher gear, bringing global business travel spending back to over $1 trillion.

It says recovery will continue into 2023, with global spending rising 23% year-over-year as even more international and group travel comes back online.

By 2024, global business travel is forecast to have made a full recovery, ending the year at $1.48 trillion or just above the 2019 pre-pandemic spend of $1.4 trillion. 

In 2025, global business travel growth is forecast to slow to 4.3% – just below the 10-year average growth rate of 5.1% coming into 2020 – ending the year at a forecasted $1.5 trillion. 

But it warns of possible risks, including persistent Covid-related threats and disruptions, supply chain strains, labour shortages, rising inflation, increased costs, and lagging recovery in Asian markets.

It also notes that there could be other potential impacts from emerging factors including broad adoption of remote working models, long term cuts or elimination of business trips and travel volume, and the increased focus on sustainability practices and policies for business travel. 

“Of any year we’ve issued the BTI Outlook forecast, this one was the most anticipated and it’s no surprise,” said Suzanne Neufang, CEO for GBTA.

“The business travel industry recognises there are factors, related to Covid-19 and beyond, that could impact the road ahead over the coming years. However, there is optimism overall as the industry, companies and travellers worldwide lean into recovery and the much-needed return to business travel.”