Britain’s slower response to the pandemic and ongoing Brexit uncertainty will make it the world’s worst hit business travel market, according to a GBTA report out this week.
The association’s BTI Outlook, which focused on Europe, concluded that out of the top 15 business travel markets in 2020, the UK, US and Germany are predicted to be hardest hit, falling by 61.7%, 61.1% and 60.9% in business travel spend respectively.
GDP in the Eurozone is estimated to have shrunk by 7.4% in 2020, compared to 4.4% globally. But in the UK the predicted GDP downturn is even more severe at 11.2%.
However, the report says in 2021 the UK’s GDP growth is expected to bounce back more strongly (by 4.2%) than the rest of the Eurozone (3.6%), partly because it is coming from a lower base.
A $25.9bn increase in business travel spending is projected in Western Europe in 2021 (18.5%), while emerging Europe is predicted to see an increase of $5.6bn (18.9%).
Most of this gain is expected to come at the end of 2021 as vaccinations increase globally and business confidence returns.
According to the report, the biggest economic recovery will come from emerging markets, particularly the Asian markets, which will continue to drive global economic growth in 2021 and beyond.
“The impact of Covid-19 on business travel has varied by region and there is no doubt Western Europe is one of the regions to be impacted the most,” said Catherine Logan, GBTA Regional VP, EMEA.
“The dependence of many countries and companies on inter-regional activity and economic activity, whilst navigating a complex array of country restrictions and policies from the outset, have made it increasingly difficult to navigate.
“The recent spike in cases across Europe and the growth of mutant strains hindered any recovery in Q4 2020 and continues to hinder progress into this year. GBTA has been calling for European governments to work together, and I am delighted the European Commission has agreed a common approach to travel measures, to help drive a coordinated approach for a safe return to business travel.”
The BTI Outlook report was conducted in partnership with Rockport Analytics, a research and analytical consulting firm, and sponsored by Enterprise and National.