Is business travel back on track?
Business travellers are on the move as travel policies come back into play. But spending on business travel is not back to pre-pandemic levels yet, and a full recovery isn’t expected until 2026 *1.
Global travel rebounded during 2022, helped in large part by border re-openings releasing pent-up demand in region after region. Recent research from Visa *2 found a broad-based increase in the average amount spent per traveller while abroad between June and August in 2022. This held true for both retail and traditional travel categories like hotels, restaurants and entertainment. Initially fuelled by more affluent travellers and extended vacations, growth in both cross-border retail spending and other non-retail travel spend has evened out as the mix of travellers broadens and trip durations return to normal.
In an unexpected twist, the recovery of cross-border leisure travel may be paving the way for a business travel rebound. It’s not unusual for business travel figures to lag behind leisure in recovery, but business destinations have not been left far behind their vacation counterparts with 43 percent of business destinations reaching pre-pandemic levels in the first half of 2022 – only slightly behind leisure destinations at 51 percent *3. In traditional business destinations like Manchester, Milan or Rotterdam, leisure travellers have filled the gap left by their business counterparts, helping to even out the recovery in travel across cities and to bring back the infrastructure needed to support the eventual return of business travel.
Visa data shows that in 2022 there was a massive 139% growth in business travel spending in comparison to the previous year *4. We further investigated the spending trends for smaller and larger businesses to understand better how the recovery of business travel is playing out in Europe.
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1. GBTA 2022 BTI Outlook Annual Global Report & Forecast
2. A world in transition (visa.com)
3. Global Travel Insight November 2022 (visa.com)
4. VisaNet data