Worldwide business travel spending looks set to rise by more than a quarter this year and reach two thirds of pre-pandemic levels by 2022, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).
The forecast comes in a major new WTTC report in collaboration with McKinsey & Company called ‘Adapting to Endemic Covid-19: The Outlook for Business Travel’.
It draws on research, analysis and in-depth interviews with tourism business leaders to enable organisations to prepare for corporate travel in the post-pandemic world.
Business travel was disproportionately affected by Covid-19 and has been slower to resume.
Given that business travel is vital for many sectors of the global economy, it is important that all stakeholders join forces to find solutions to aid its recovery.
According to the new report, the modest boost for business travel with global business travel spend rising 26 per cent this year will be followed by a further rise of 34 per cent in 2022.
But this comes in the wake of a 61 per cent collapse in business travel spend in 2020, following the imposition of extensive travel restrictions with considerable regional differences in the bounce back around the world.
To speed up the recovery of business travel, the report recommends businesses adjust their revenue models, expand geographic focus, and improve digital services.
The shared challenge of restoring business travel will also depend on ongoing collaboration and partnerships across the private and public sectors and nurturing new relationships.
Julia Simpson, WTTC chief executive, said: “Business travel is starting to pick up. We expect to see two thirds back by the end of 2022.
“Business travel has been seriously hit but our research shows room for optimism with Asia Pacific and Middle East first off the starting blocks”.
Last year, the tourism sector suffered losses of almost US$4.5 trillion, and more than 62 million people lost their jobs.
Domestic visitor spending decreased by 45 per cent, while international visitor spending fell by an unprecedented 69 per cent.