Last updated: 02:00 PM ET, Tue April 14 2015

GBTA: U.S. Business Travel Volume to Rise Through 2016

Business Travel | Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) | Patrick Clarke | April 14, 2015

GBTA: U.S. Business Travel Volume to Rise Through 2016

The Global Business Travel Association's latest BTI Outlook released on Tuesday forecasts U.S. business travel volume to increase over the next two years as a result of increased demand, a recovering American economy and declining oil prices, among other key factors.

Although the GBTA's updated projection for U.S. business travel spending in 2015 is lower than originally forecasted as a result of reduced prices on travel goods and services, spending is still expected to rise a healthy 3.1 percent to $295.7 billion this year.

On the other hand, total person-trip volume is forecasted to increase more than previously predicted, with that figure projected to grow 1.7 percent to 492.1 million trips in 2015.

"The expected increase in U.S. business travel volume is an excellent indicator of how the overall domestic economy is faring, with every sector and consumer spending performing better than we've seen since 2009," said GBTA executive director and COO Michael McCormick in a statement. 

"Thanks to a healthier domestic economy and a stronger U.S. dollar, companies are putting more travelers on the road not only because they can afford to, but because they continue to see a strong return on their business travel investment," added McCormick.

While business travelers have yet to be rewarded for plummeting oil prices, the first-quarter BTI Outlook still forecasts the cost of air and ground travel to remain relatively steady this year, rising just over one percent before normalizing in 2016.

Meanwhile, the GBTA's BTI Index of business travel activity is expected to climb from 133 to 140 by year's end before eventually rising to 145 in 2016.

"The BTI forecast continues to be a strong indicator of the state of business travel, adept at predicting trouble spots and growth signals," said GBTA Foundation vice president of research Joseph Bates. "The economic recovery continues to pick up steam but lower prices have kept spending in check."

The aforementioned U.S. business travel growth is anticipated despite an uncertain global economy.


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