Business travel is making a comeback. // © 2011 istockphotos.com
The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) reports that during the fourth quarter of 2010 the Business Travel Index reached its highest level since the recession began in 2008, offering positive signs for the performance of the U.S. economy as well as acting as an indicator of future job growth.
For the year, total U.S. spending on business travel grew substantially by 3.2 percent from the 2.3 percent previously forecasted for the year. Business travel spending in 2011 is now expected to be even stronger than estimated last quarter, advancing by 6.9 percent for the year, which is up from the 5 percent growth previously forecasted.
"These are very heartening signs. Business travel spending is coming back at robust levels, indicating the shape of things to come -- namely more travelers on the road, an improving economy and a positive environment for continued job growth," said Michael W. McCormick, GBTA executive director and chief operating officer.
In addition, international markets continue to present new opportunities for company growth with expectations of a 7.9 percent increase in 2011, proceeding at a faster rate than overall business travel growth. Travel prices are also recovering from their sharp declines during the recession. Rate analysis based on an aggregate of airfare, lodging, meals, ground transportation and car rentals show that travel prices in 2010 increased by 2.5 percent and are projected to increase between 2 and 4 percent for 2011.www.gbta.org