A traveler pulls his luggage through Los Angeles International Airport. (Allen Schaben / Los Angeles…)
After a strong surge over the last two years, business travel in the United States is expected to grow more slowly through the end of the year, largely because of economic uncertainty in Europe.
The slowdown in travel spending was forecast last week in a report by the Global Business Travel Assn., a trade group for the nation’s travel managers. The group also cited ongoing worries about the U.S. economy, low job growth, falling consumer confidence and slowing corporate profits.
The group predicted that spending on business travel this year will jump 2.2% over last year, reaching $256.5 billion. In a previous forecast, the group had expected the spending to grow 3.6% this year.
“In a challenging economy, companies may look to cut their travel spending,” said Michael W. McCormick, the business travel group's executive director. “But GBTA research shows that that is the exact opposite of what they should be doing.”
He added that cutting travel spending would hurt a company’s bottom line and “make a bad economic situation significantly worse due to business travel’s impact on the overall economy.”
Business travel spending surged back after the economic recession, jumping 5.1% in 2010 and 7.2% in 2011, according to the association.
Looking ahead, the group predicts a rebound in travel spending next year: Assuming that Europe’s economic woes do not worsen, it expects the spending will rise 4.7% to $268.5 billion.
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