Business travel demand expected to surge in 2022, but full recovery still two years away

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  • Business travel spending this year grew more slowly than expected, according to a new industry report.
  • The rise in Covid variants, uneven vaccination rates and cases slowed the growth.
  • Business travel is likely to increase next year, but a recovery to pre-pandemic levels is unlikely until 2024.

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Business travel spending around the world will grow more than 37% to more than $1 trillion next year, according to new industry forecasts released Wednesday, but the normally lucrative industry won’t fully recover until 2024.

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A surge in COVID cases and new variants, uneven vaccination rates and supply chain problems have hurt this year’s recovery, according to a new forecast from the Global Business Travel Association. Business travel spending this year will grow 14% from 2020 to $754 billion, slowing from estimates for 21% year-over-year growth in February.

The speed of recovery is critical for large global airlines struggling to return to profitability, as well as hotel chains and restaurants that rely heavily on business travelers. Those customers are often willing to pay a higher price than on holidays.

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Global business travel spending fell 54% to $661 billion in 2020 from $1.4 trillion in 2019.

According to the report, China and the US are expected to lead the business travel expense growth this year with a growth of around 30%.

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