GBTA Ups 2013 U.S. Business Travel Forecast - Business Travel News

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GBTA Ups 2013 U.S. Business Travel Forecast

April 09, 2013 - 02:05 PM ET

By Holly Leber

The Global Business Travel Association's latest projections for U.S. business travel include a 5.1 percent increase in spending this year versus last year, higher than the 4.6 percent 2013 growth forecast by the group in its January report. Covering domestic U.S. and outbound international travel, GBTA's newer forecast also calls for a 1.1 percent decline in the number of business travel trips, the same annual change as previously projected.

According to GBTA, total U.S. business travel spending in 2012 increased 1.8 percent year over year on 1.8 percent fewer trips. Now, an "improving economic outlook" has led to the higher growth forecast for this year.

After dropping 1.9 percent in 2012 as a result of general corporate spending reductions, according to GBTA, transient business travel trip volume now is expected to fall another 1.3 percent in 2013. Transient spending growth, however, now is expected to increase 4.5 percent in 2013, up from the 2.2 percent growth rate reported for last year.

Meanwhile, GBTA now expects group travel trip volume to drop 1.1 percent this year following a 1.7 percent reduction in 2012. GBTA forecast 6 percent growth for 2013 group travel spending this year, well ahead of the 1.6 percent growth measured for 2012.

"Despite continued political uncertainty in the U.S. and around the world, businesses are beginning to break out of their holding pattern and seek growth more aggressively," according to comments attributed to GBTA executive director Michael McCormick. "While there are still many factors that could hamper the economy again, from the impact of sequestration to rising energy prices, business travel spending is heading in the right direction so far in 2013."

The 1.1 percent projected decline in 2013 total trip volume equates to about 100,000 fewer business trips this year, according to GBTA. But for 2014, the association expects the number of trips to rise by 1.4 percent. Total spending growth next year is forecast to accelerate to 7 percent.

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