Businesses Around the World are Set to Increase the Amount They Spend on Travel

January 19, 2015
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Business world ‘spending more on travel’ A number of studies suggest appetite for business travel is on the rise.

According to the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), companies across the globe will have invested $1.25 trillion on travel over the course of 2015, a record-high figure.Kathryn Bell of the Boston Consulting Group told The Economist that the increased desire for business travel shows that face-to-face contact remains vital, despite the advances made in communication technology.

This sentiment was echoed by Isabelle Bajeux-Besnainou, dean of Canadian business school Desautels, who told the publication: “When you are asking someone for money it is better to do it in person.”

Figures show that US businesses were the biggest spenders in 2014, investing $288 billion. China followed with a spend of $261 billion. The Asian nation led the way when it came to growth, however, with spending up by close to 15 per cent compared to 2013. In the US, the rise was around five per cent.

Other big spending nations include Japan ($62 billion), Germany ($58 billion), the UK ($44 billion) and France ($36 billion). In terms of yearly growth, China was followed by India, Spain and Germany, with the US completing the top five.

Limited terror impact

It seems the recent terror attacks in Paris have done little to dampen business travel enthusiasm. A survey by the GBTA found close to three in four US business travel buyers do not plan to significantly alter their plans as a result of the tragedy.

 Some 57 percent of respondents reported ‘no change’ to their plans, while 16 percent said they have enforced ‘slight restrictions.’ Only one in ten travel buyers have temporarily suspended travel to the French capital. More than nine in ten respondents claimed they think it is important that travel to Europe continues as normal in the aftermath of the attacks. 

Michael McCormick, GBTA executive director and chief operation officer, commented: “This initial survey shows the resiliency of business travel in the face of these horrific attacks. “However, corporations, governments and the business travel industry must continue to work closely together to ensure a global travel system that is both safe and secure.”

Rise of the millennial

One factor behind the increased appetite for business travel may be the rise of the millennial generation. Encapsulating people born between the 1980s and 2000, this demographic is widely acknowledged as having a greater desire for international travel than any that has come before it.

 This was highlighted by a GBTA study earlier this year, which found millennials are nearly twice as likely to want to go abroad for work than baby boomers (people born between the mid 40s and 60s). Some 45 percent of millennials are keen to travel for business, while 57 percent believe technology can never replace the effectiveness of a face-to-face meeting.

With millennials becoming a more prominent part of the global workforce with every passing year, it stands to reason that business travel will only increase.