Declining Today, Business Travel in Europe Will Grow Tomorrow, GBTA Forecasts

Thanks to the continued debt crisis in Western Europe, overall spending on business travel there will fall in 2012. However, it will improve slightly in 2013. So predicts the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), which yesterday released the results of its second study into Western Europe's business travel sector.

According to the fall edition of the "GBTA Business Travel Index (BTI) Outlook – Western Europe," Europe's five most critical business travel markets — Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Spain — will fall 2.2 percent to $177 billion in 2012, then bounce back slightly in 2013.

"With lingering debt challenges and continued austerity measures, the European economy will likely continue to be challenged for years to come," said GBTA Europe Managing Director Paul Tilstone. "The GBTA's fall report therefore remains cautious, with overall business travel spend forecast to increase by 1.4 percent in Western Europe in 2013."

GBTA, which found a "strong correlation between job growth and travel spend," doesn't expect major improvements in European business travel spend until at least 2014 due to excessive unemployment in European markets.

Right now, the strongest of those markets is Germany, according to GBTA, which said German business travel spend is expected to grow 1.6 percent in 2012 and 3.3 percent in 2013. The next strongest market is the United Kingdom, where business travel spend is expected to remain flat in 2012 before growing 2.8 percent in 2013. In France, business travel spend will decline 2.2 percent this year, but rise 1.1 percent next year. In Italy and Spain — the worst performing markets — business travel spend is forecast to fall 6.9 percent and 7.8 percent, respectively, in 2012, then fall another 1.2 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively, in 2013.