The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Foundation’s “The United States Business Travel Industry: Road Warriors Impact on Jobs and the Economy” study highlights the positive economic impact that road warriors have on the U.S. economy.

According to the study, business travel was responsible for about 3% of U.S. GDP in 2012 ($491 billion). And for every 1% increase in business travel spending, the U.S. economy gains an additional 71,000 jobs, nearly $5 billion in GDP, $3 billion in wages and $1.2 billion in tax collections.

The study also shows that the U.S. business travel industry supports 7.1 million jobs and generated $118 billion in federal, state and local taxes.

“Business travel matters,” said Mike Fegley, vice president of America sales for Intercontinental Hotels Group, the corporate sponsor of this study. “Business travel is a driver of the economy and these numbers solidify its importance. The study shows we can really move the needle of the economy by getting out on the road for face-to-face meetings conducting business and generating jobs.”

Other highlights from the study include:

  • In 2012, U.S. domestic business travelers spent an average of $540 per trip, including $147 on lodging, $230 on transportation, $100 on food and beverage, $28 on shopping and $22 on entertainment. These averages consider all trips — day and overnight — and all methods of transportation – air, rail, personal auto and rental car.
  • Of the $491 billion total from business travel, $208 billion accrued directly to businesses that served travelers or meeting attendees. The supply chain for these businesses received an additional indirect contribution of $120.5 billion.
  • The average business trip lasts 1.75 days and covers 268 miles. The typical U.S. business traveler takes about four daytrips and two overnight trips per month.
  • U.S. business travelers are most likely to be mid-career (age 35-55) and be employed in a managerial or professional position. Business travelers have an average annual household income of $102,329 and almost three-quarters of business travelers are married.

“Electronic communication is important to our economy, but it cannot completely replace the personal connection formed by meeting face to face,” said Rep. Sam Farr (D-Calif.) and co-chair of the Congressional Travel and Tourism Caucus. “Business travelers play an important role in building our economy beyond just the deals they strike with a hand shake. Their time on the road supports the entire travel industry; injecting needed dollars into local businesses and creating jobs in every community across the United States.”

The GBTA Foundation, the education and research foundation for the Global Business Travelers Association, conducted this study. Rockport Analytics provided the estimates on economic impacts.

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