GBTA survey reveals "dire" state of global business travel

George Sell George Sell Uploaded 17 April 2020

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US: The Global Business Travel Association has polled 974 of its global member companies about the current state of the sector.

The survey found that business travel has come to a halt across the globe. Companies are cancelling or suspending almost all business travel regardless of country or region. GBTA members report their companies have cancelled or suspended “all” or “most” business trips to:
• China – 99% cancelled or suspended
• Hong Kong – 99% cancelled or suspended
• Taiwan – 98% cancelled or suspended
• Other Asia-Pacific countries (e.g., Japan, South Korea and Malaysia) – 98% cancelled or suspended
• Europe – 97% cancelled or suspended
• Middle East/Africa – 98% cancelled or suspended
• Latin America – 97% cancelled or suspended
• Canada – 95% cancelled or suspended
• United States – 94% cancelled or suspended

Almost every GBTA member company (98%) reports canceling and/or suspending all international business travel. In addition, most (92%) report they have canceled or suspended all or most domestic travel.

Most GBTA members based in the United States (93%) and Europe (92%) report their company has canceled or suspended all or most domestic business travel. On average, GBTA travel buyers estimate their company has canceled 92% of business trips booked for March and April 2020.

Scott Solombrino, GBTA’s chief operating officer and executive director, said: “With the spread of the coronavirus and many countries under quarantine and other restrictions, it is not surprising that business travel has come to a halt. The toll in terms of public health and the global economy cannot be overstated. We applaud government actions and financial assistance to help address the global crisis and stabilise global economies. The survey shows that travellers are eager to get back on the road, which is a positive sign for future business travel. Once this pandemic is successfully combatted, business travel can return to being a positive economic driver of the global economy."

When asked about the industry's recovery, there was a broad range of opinion among the companies polled. Slightly more than half expect travel to resume within the next two (32%) or three (19%) months, while 16% are unsure. When asked to assess employee willingness to travel once restrictions are lifted, the majority of GBTA member companies expect most (33%) or some (33%) employees will be willing to travel. A much smaller proportion anticipates unwillingness on the part of some (13%) or most (2%) employees to travel.

A majority of GBTA members (62%) expect the coronavirus will change the way their company conducts business once the threat is over.

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