As U.S. domestic business travel continues its ascent towards pre-recession levels, the forecast for international outbound business travel reflects even stronger growth.
The Global Business Travel Association predicts this year that U.S. business travelers will take 488.1 million person-trips (includes domestic and international), a 1% increase over 2014, and spend $302.7 billion, a 4.9% increase over last year, outlined in it’s new second quarter outlook report. Next year business travelers will book an estimated 502.8 million person-trips and spend about $319 billion.
Though that’s positive growth nonetheless, when considered separately U.S. international outbound business travel will see healthier growth: 3.6% increase in the number of trips year-over-year by December, down from last quarter’s projection of 5.1%. U.S. business travelers have a stronger dollar to thank for their international travel gradually increasing, said Joe Bates, a spokesperson for the association.
But while U.S. business travelers see new and favorable opportunities to flex their currency abroad, their counterparts in Europe, Latin America and Asia-Pacific aren’t celebrating. The dollar’s rise during the past year caused U.S. exports to get pricier and doing business with American companies became more expensive. Foreign companies likely won’t express the same eagerness to do business with Americans as they did when the dollar was weaker.
Bates said the number of trips taken and spending will show meager growth for business travelers coming to the U.S. from Europe, where the economy has made a backslide due to situations like Greece’s debt crisis, and China where spending has slowed in the middle and upper classes.
In the U.S. individual business travel fares better than group travel, which the association defines as 10 or more people from one company attending the same meeting or event. Individual business travelers will account for 302 million person-trips this year and will spend $134.8 billion (4.9% increase year-over-year), versus the roughly 170 million group travel trips generating $130 billion in spending this year.
Source: Global Business Travel Association