A NEW report by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) revealed that global business travel spend is higher than it’s ever been at US$1.2 trillion.
According to the Annual Global Report & Forecast, the figure is expected to rise to US$1.3 trillion by the end of 2016 and US$1.6 trillion by 2020, or a 5.8 percent jump over the next five years.
The forecast comes amid global political uncertainty as well as the controversial Brexit referendum which saw the people of the UK vote to leave the European Union.
Michael W. McCormick, executive director and COO of GBTA said, “Business travel has demonstrated a tremendous resiliency as it continues slow and steady progress even in the face of global uncertainty, a weakened global economy, terrorist attacks, world health issues and other obstacles.”
“Companies across the globe clearly understand the return on investment business travel delivers for their bottom line.”
Unsurprisingly, China edged the US to become the biggest business travel market in the world, recording a significant US$291 billion spend last year.
It is predicted that China will continue to overtake the US in 2016, with the nation’s business travel spend expected to grow by 10 percent to approximately US$320 billion.
Germany, Japan, the UK, France, South Korea and Italy are also major players in contributing to the global corporate travel spend. Meanwhile, India and Indonesia are predicted to record double-digit growth over the next five years, and will be the two fastest growing nations in business travel spend.
The above figures were compiled before the Brexit vote, but the added uncertainty in the UK is likely to create a dent in spending and force companies to impose budget restrictions, according to the report.
On the other hand, the report added that a much weaker pound will make business travel into the UK a real bargain.
On Asia’s growth in business travel and MICE markets, Sam Robson of global travel and events firm The Appointment Group said, “Maybe when the sterling stabilises and the costs of travel to Europe increase for British companies, Asia may see an increase in UK MICE business.”
In search for savings in these tumultuous times, MICE and corporate travelers from the UK may contribute to a spike in the next few years, seeing that costs to cross over to EU states will also increase.