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Business Travel Spend Set to Reach Two-Thirds of Pre-pandemic Levels by 2022, Reveals New Report

Updated: Nov 9, 2021

Worldwide business travel spending looks set to rise by more than a quarter this year and reach two-thirds of pre-pandemic levels by 2022, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

Business Travel Spend Set to Reach Two-Thirds of Pre-pandemic Levels by 2022, Reveals New Report

The forecast comes in a major new WTTC report collaborating with McKinsey & Company called ‘Adapting to Endemic COVID-19: The Outlook for Business Travel’.

It draws on research, analysis and in-depth interviews with Travel & Tourism business leaders to enable organisations to prepare for corporate travel in the post-pandemic world.

Business travel was disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and has been slower to resume. Given that business travel is vital for many sectors of the global economy, all stakeholders must join forces to find solutions to aid its recovery.

According to the new report, the modest boost for business travel with global travel spending rising 26% this year will be followed by a further rise of 34% in 2022.

But this comes in the wake of a 61% collapse in business travel spend in 2020, following the imposition of extensive travel restrictions with considerable regional differences in the bounce back around the world.

To speed up business travel recovery, the report recommends businesses adjust their revenue models, expand geographic focus, and improve digital services.

The shared challenge of restoring business travel will also depend on ongoing collaboration and partnerships across the private and public sectors and nurturing new relationships.

Julia Simpson, WTTC CEO & President, said: “Business travel is starting to pick up. We expect to see two thirds back by the end of 2022.

“Business travel has been seriously hit but our research shows room for optimism with the Asia Pacific and the Middle East first off the starting blocks”.

Considering this year and next, WTTC data shows which regions around the world are leading the revival in business travel, led by the Middle East:

  1. Middle East - Business spending is set to rise by 49% this year, stronger than leisure spending at 36%, followed by a 32% rise next year

  2. Asia-Pacific - Business spending is set to rise by 32% this year, and