Worldwide spending on business travel will top pre-pandemic levels next year and accelerate to nearly $1.8 trillion in 2027, according to the Global Business Travel Association’s annual outlook. The GBTA Business Travel Outlook (BTI) is an annual exhaustive forecast of business travel spending and growth covering 72 countries and 44 industries.
The global business travel industry has rebounded at a more accelerated rate than expected just a year ago and is now expected to surpass its pre-pandemic spending level of $1.4 trillion in 2024. In 2022, global business travel spending rose 47% to $1.03 trillion, with strong gains continuing and 32% growth expected in 2023. These robust gains were fueled by pent-up demand after the COVID-19 pandemic, more favorable global economic conditions in 2022 and 2023 and recession risks that have yet to happen.
“The headwinds that were anticipated to impact the rebound of global business travel over the past year didn’t materialize and that is good news. This latest forecast now indicates an accelerated return to pre-pandemic spending levels sooner than anticipated as well as growth ahead in the coming years. Business travel spending is a key indicator, but how travel volumes will continue to rebound is yet to be seen,” said Suzanne Neufang, CEO, GBTA. “The BTI data also reflects the remarkable efforts of the industry to adapt, innovate and thrive despite the challenges, along with the ongoing role and value of business travel to economies, companies and professionals worldwide.”
New in this year’s BTI are also data and analysis from GBTA’s comprehensive survey of 4,700 business travelers across five global regions, representing insights from employee travelers regarding their business travel preferences, behaviours and spending including what they report as their average price of a business trip now.
Highlights from the latest BTI Outlook (figures in US dollars):
- Global business travel spending is expected to recover to its pre-pandemic total of $1.4 trillion in 2024 and grow to nearly $1.8 trillion by 2027, fueled by more favorable economic conditions than expected in 2022 and 2023.
- In 2022, global business travel spending rose 47% to $1.03 trillion. These strong gains have continued into 2023, with 32% growth in global expenditures expected this year. The estimated breakdown of the $1.03 trillion in business travel expenditures includes $183 billion in air spend, $395 billion in lodging spend, $191 billion in food and beverage spend, $138 billion in ground transportation spend and $121 billion in other travel expenses.
- Global spending is expected to recover to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2024 – faster than the previously projected mid-2026 forecast in last year’s BTI Outlook. Contributing to the accelerated rebound has been the significant stability in the global economy − many advanced economies were projected to weaken or fall into recession in 2023, but this has yet to happen.
For more findings from the outlook, visit GBTA.