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Provided there is continued easing of economic and political uncertainty, the business travel forecast for 2013 should be more positive than the slowed growth at the end of 2012, according to the Global Business Travel Association. Also, group travel is expected to be a key factor in 2013.
The GBTA BTI Outlook – United States 2012 Q4 reports that U.S. business travel spending is expected to rise 4.6 percent in 2013 to $266.7 billion, on a slight -1.1 percent decline in trip volume to 431.8 million person-trips for the year. The key factors in 2013 business travel spending growth are projected to be:
- Increasing international outbound travel spending – projected to rise 5.9 percent
- Increasing group travel spending – projected to rise 5.2 percent
- Very modest price inflation – indicating that companies will be spending more real dollars on business trips.
Spending growth in 2013 should begin modestly, at 2 percent in Q1 and 2.9 percent in Q2, and then pick up the pace with rates of 6.4 percent in Q3 and 7.2 percent in Q4.
At the close of 2012, annual U.S. business travel spending is estimated by GBTA to have grown 1.6 percent to $254.9 billion, on a -1.9 percent decline in trip volume to 436.5 million person-trips. The spending increase was mainly due to rising travel rates.
International outbound business travel grew just .7 percent as challenges in the Eurozone impacted trade and business confidence, including in the U.S. and Asia. While the Eurozone remains troubled, increasing industrial production and retail sales in China signal an improving economy for 2013. Among other factors, a stronger China will improve U.S. export growth and help act as an engine for international outbound business travel. As a result, GBTA expects to see a 5.9 percent rise in international outbound spending for the year.
Group travel spending rose just 1.3 percent in 2012, but in 2013 GBTA forecasts that group travel spending will rebound with 5.2 percent growth for the year as the broader economy recovers. Businesses will be looking to capitalize on growth opportunities abroad and spend more on in-person meetings and events as well, GBTA predicts.Details: gbta.org.