Business travel spending should continue to climb through 2013, driven largely by growth in domestic travel spending, according to the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). This is a notable shift from prior years when companies had to look abroad for business opportunities in the face of a sagging U.S. economy. Now, signs of a healthier domestic economy — including steady job gains and higher consumer confidence — are encouraging companies to increase their investment in domestic travel, says GBTA.
Overall, business travel spending for 2013 is now expected to reach $273.3 billion – an upgrade from last quarter’s forecast of $268.5 billion for the year, according to the “GBTA BTI Outlook — United States 2013 Q2,” a report from GBTA that’s sponsored by Visa Inc. This would be a 4.3% increase in spending over 2012.
“With the U.S. economy moving into a more stable growth mode, companies are seizing on opportunities closer to home,” said Michael W. McCormick, GBTA executive director and chief operating officer. “The rise in domestic business travel spending is a positive sign of increasing business confidence and bodes well for future employment growth.”
Importantly, solid growth in travel spending is not only being driven by rising prices. The GBTA report finds that “real” travel spending growth per trip (the increase after accounting for travel price inflation) is projected to hit 1.3% this year — in contrast with 0.3% in 2012.
“It’s encouraging to see the return and increase of domestic business travel,” said Tad Fordyce, head of global commercial solutions at Visa Inc. “These increases are positive reinforcements that travelers are regaining confidence in our own economy and re-investing in the growth of their businesses. We hope to see these increases have a ripple effect on international travel in key markets in the coming future.”