16 experts advise on what’s to come this year.
The Global Business
Travel Association in its latest quarterly outlook issued Tuesday again revised
downward its 2012 international business travel forecast, owing to the ongoing
eurozone debt crisis, slowing growth in Asia and high oil prices. It also cut
projections for meetings travel activity from its January report while leaving
unchanged its U.S. domestic business travel projections.
GBTA now anticipates international
outbound travel spending to increase 3 percent in 2012 versus last year. That's
down from the association's 7.7 percent growth forecast in October and its 5.5
percent projection in January. GBTA calculated that international outbound
travel spending in 2011 had jumped 8.5 percent. Similarly, after increasing 3.1
percent in 2011, U.S.-initiated international business trips this year are
expected to rise by 1.2 percent, according to GBTA, which in January predicted
2.4 percent growth in such travel. For 2013, the association predicted greater
growth in international outbound trips, up 4.8 percent from expected current
"While the outlook
for Europe is cloudy and economic growth in Asia is slowing, things still look
much better than they did 12 months ago," according to GBTA executive
director Michael McCormick.
In the United States,
overall spending on domestic and outbound international travel is expected to
increase 4.6 percent versus 2011 and trip volume is expected to retreat 0.8
percent, according to GBTA. Both figures are unchanged from the association's
January quarterly outlook. The spending total in 2011 was $251 billion, up from
$234 billion in 2010, and included about $112 billion for transient business
travel, $108 billion for group business travel and $31 billion for
international outbound travel.
GBTA pegged transient
travel spending growth at 3.7 percent for 2012 and 3.9 percent for next year,
following a healthier 6.7 percent increase during 2011. For 2012, GBTA revised
downward its predicted group travel spending increase to 3.3 percent year over
year from a 4.2 percent growth forecast in January. "Group travel will
keep pace with transient growth as long as no significant economic shocks take
place," the association wrote. Group business travel spending in 2011
increased by more than 7 percent, according to the report.
continues to believe business travel will reach its pre-recession levels by the
middle of 2012," the association wrote. "As an economic indicator,
the steady growth of business travel spend has continued to track accurately
against job growth in the United States over the last twelve months."
outlooks use an "econometric model" based on data from D.K. Shifflet
& Associates and such macroeconomic indicators as U.S. gross domestic
product, corporate profits and cash flow, travel components of the U.S. Consumer
Price Index and the Institute of Supply Management's Business Sentiment Index.
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