The UK business travel sector showed a return to growth in 2010, with rail travel recovering to 2008 levels, according to the Guild of Travel Management Companies (GTMC) annual transaction survey.
The survey, which monitors the GTMC member companies’ transactions across a range of segments within the business travel sector, showed a general upward trend across most categories. Although the final quarter was impacted by the adverse weather conditions in December particularly on car hire, which shrank by 2% against the same quarter in 2009.
Business travel transactions across the board increased by 9% over 2009.
Rail travel, which has increased in every quarter of 2010, showed a 10% growth year on year. Air travel also grew by 10% over the year showing that business travel, so often the barometer of UK Plc, is leading a fragile but consistent recovery for the business sector.
Hotels enjoyed an 8% growth for 2010 with the final quarter of the year seeing a healthy 9% increase on the corresponding quarter in 2009.
Commenting on the figures, Anne Godfrey, chief executive of the GTMC said: “2010 was a good year for business travel, although we have to recognise that the figures come from a low base. Had it not been for the adverse weather conditions in the final quarter we probably would have seen growth in every quarter of the year for 2010 and for each of the key segments of the sector – car hire, rail, air and hotels”.
“Clearly business travel is growing again and with some sectors, such as rail, getting back to 2008 levels the signs are promising for a return to a gradual recovery for the economy during 2011”.