Global Biz Travel Hit Record $1.2 Trillion USD In 2015
Global business travel spend topped $1.2 trillion USD in 2015, up 5% over 2014, and is forecast to reach $1.3 trillion in 2016 according to the GBTA BTI Outlook – Annual Global Report & Forecast, a new report released by the GBTA Foundation.
Despite continued global uncertainty, cautious optimism rules the forecast, which predicts global business travel spend to advance 5.8% on average over the next 5 years, reaching $1.6 trillion in 2020.
“Global business travel remains a critical driver of the success of organizations around the globe,” said Michael W. McCormick, GBTA executive director and COO.
“Business travel has demonstrated a tremendous resiliency as it continues slow and steady progress even in the face of global uncertainty, a weakened global economy, terrorist attacks, world health issues and other obstacles. Companies across the globe clearly understand the return on investment business travel delivers for their bottom line.”
“While overall growth has remained steady despite global uncertainties, signs are good for a solid end to the decade as we approach 2020,” said David Henstock, VP, Global Business Solutions at Visa, Inc., which sponsored the research.
“Business travel has continued to evolve as the world is becoming more connected and the transition to electronic payments will help businesses reduce costs and pay for travel expenses more efficiently.”
The Annual Rankings
At $291 billion, China surpassed the United States as the largest business travel market in the world in 2015.
The U.S. was close behind at $289 billion, then there’s a huge drop to #3 with Germany at $63.5, followed by Japan at $62.1. The UK rounded out the top 5 at $47.1. Canada stood 11th at $23.1 billion, up 2.7% year-over-year.
The fastest-growing countries on the list were China at 11.4% and India – which ranks one spot higher than Canada – at 11.0%. Russia suffered the biggest decline at 18.2%.
15 Years of Volatility
The GBTA Foundation has now tracked global business travel spend for 15 years. In 2000, $634 billion was spent on global business travel, half of the $1.2 Trillion spent in 2015.
The organization says growth has been driven by an increasingly connected world and the rapid maturation of a number of key business travel markets.
External forces have also had a dramatic impact, the GBTA Foundation says, as early in the millennium business travel volumes were held back as many developed economies battled recession. By 2004, however, the global economy was back in full swing and business travel prospered between 2003 and 2008.
Beginning in late 2008, the Great Recession and Financial Crisis began and global business travel plummeted over the following 18 months. Business travel clawed its way back over the next few years, outpacing the recovery in the overall global economy.
Following the robust recovery period for business travel in 2010 and 2011, global business travel spending growth entered the doldrums only growing in the 3% percent range.
The research concludes: “Now we have entered an era of uncertainty marked by moderate growth for the foreseeable future.”