According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), global business travel spending looks set to rise by more than a quarter this year and reach two thirds of pre-pandemic levels by 2022.
In a new report by the WTTC and McKinsey & Company called Adapting to Endemic Covid-19: The Outlook for Business Travel, the modest boost for business travel with global business travel spend rising 26% this year will be followed by a further rise of 34% in 2022.
The report draws on research, analysis and in-depth interviews with travel and tourism business leaders to enable organizations to prepare for corporate travel in the post-pandemic world.
It also points out that business travel was disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and has been slower to resume. Given that business travel is vital for many sectors of the global economy, it is important that all stakeholders join forces to find solutions to aid its recovery.
Yet the findings come in the wake of a 61% collapse in business travel spend in 2020, following the imposition of extensive travel restrictions with considerable regional differences in the bounce back around the world.
The report recommends that to speed up the recovery of business travel, businesses will need to adjust their revenue models, expand geographic focus, and improve digital services.
The shared challenge of restoring business travel will also depend on ongoing collaboration and partnerships across the private and public sectors and nurturing new relationships.
Commenting on the report, the WTTC’s CEO and president, Julia Simpson said: “Business travel is starting to pick up. We expect to see two thirds back by the end of 2022.”
Simpson continued: “Business travel has been seriously hit but our research shows room for optimism with Asia Pacific and Middle East first off the starting blocks.”
The report also emphasizes the continuing importance of business travel and the spend it generates for global economic growth.
Analysis shows that in 2019, most major countries depended on business travel for 20% of their tourism, 75 to 85% of which was domestic.
Although business travel represented only 21.4% of global travel in 2019, it was responsible for the highest spending in many destinations, making it essential for the recovery of the entire travel sector and for its many stakeholders.
Business travel is an important part of the service offering for airlines and high-end hotels and essential for generating much of their revenues.
Before the pandemic, business travel accounted for around 70% of all global revenue for high-end hotel chains while between 55 and 75% of airline profits came from business travellers, who made up around 12% of passengers.
The WTTC also made it clear that while business travel will return, its uneven recovery will have important implications across the global travel and tourism sector, making private public partnerships even more important in the months and years ahead.
Go to https://wttc.org/Research/Insights-Publications for more.