August 16, 2018

Rising protectionism threatens to derail business travel spending breakout


Global business travel spending reached $1.33 trillion in 2017, advancing 5.8 percent over 2016 levels, according to the GBTA BTI Outlook, a new report released today at GBTA Convention 2018.

Spending is forecast to advance another 7.1 percent in 2018 and will expand to $1.7 trillion by 2022.

“This pick-up in growth could signify an end to the ‘Era of Uncertainty’ in global business travel, but rising protectionism is coming at precisely the wrong time,” said Michael W. McCormick, GBTA executive director and COO. “The direction of trade policy is far and away the biggest wild card that could impact our forecast for global business creating uncertainty that could derail the recovery.”

The “Era of Uncertainty” has been punctuated by moderate growth in business travel spending, which has been trapped in roughly the 3-5 percent range annually since 2012. The two-year period spanning 2017-2018 is projected to be the strongest two-year period for business travel since the initial recovery from the Great Recession in 2010 and 2011. In 2018, GBTA expects 18 out of the top 20 business travel markets to outpace their growth average over the last five years. On average, GBTA projects global business travel to expand by 5.2 percent over the forecast horizon.

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