A new report suggests business travel is recovering more quickly than anticipated.
The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) now expects worldwide business travel spending to rise to $1.52 trillion in 2024, well ahead of pre-pandemic spending for the first time. The group anticipates that figure will rise to $1.8 trillion by 2027. Previous estimates had business travel spending rebounding to 2019 levels in 2026.
A number of factors are accelerating the recovery—from pent-up demand and a better COVID-19 environment to more stable global economic conditions, according to the report released this week.
The association found that Western Europe was the most rapidly growing business travel region globally last year, followed by North America and Latin America. Meanwhile, the Asia Pacific region has been hampered by a delayed reopening of China and lower travel spending in that area.
According to the GBTA report, global business travel spending hit $1.03 trillion last year, an increase of 47% over 2021. Another 32% increase in spending is expected this year.
“The headwinds that were anticipated to impact the rebound of global business travel over the past year didn’t materialize and that is good news,” said Suzanne Neufang, GBTA’s CEO.
While spending is picking up, business traveler volumes might take longer to recover. According to the report, travel by large corporations remains stuck at about 75% of 2019 volumes among U.S. air carriers.