Strategic Meetings Summit London, 26 September,
September 29 2022, Virtual
Now in its 27th year, the Business Travel Awards
Business travel is undergoing a “slow but steady recovery”, according to the latest figures from HRG.
The TMC said that global air travel bookings rose by 3.2 per cent in the first three months of 2013 compared to the same period last year.
There are also signs of improvement in the UK domestic market with transactions rising by 4.3 per cent in the first quarter of this year.
But the number of flight bookings to major European markets fell – transactions to Germany and France fell by 1.5 per cent and 5.2 per cent respectively, and there were even bigger drops to Portugal, Italy and Greece.
The report said: “HRG figures reveal an increasing trend for business travellers to travel to France using high-speed rail services including Eurostar. Many companies have also changed their travel policy, requiring travellers to travel by rail for this particular route as it allows for work to be completed en route.”
India saw the strongest growth as a business travel destination in the first quarter of 2013 with transactions increasing by 11.1 per cent year-on-year. Although both China and Brazil saw a fall in transactions by 2.3 per cent and 6.1 per cent respectively as their strong economic growth showed signs of slowing.
Overall business class sales fell 14.8 per cent year-on-year while economy transactions rose by 0.5 per cent – HRG said the shift from business class to economy was “particularly acute in Europe”.
Stewart Harvey, HRG’s group commercial director, said: “The general picture is of an industry in slow but steady recovery. However, despite the improved view there is still a focus on cost by our clients and an increase in the use of economy fares, particularly on short-haul destinations. We’re also seeing rail re-emerge as a genuine alternative to air travel.
“The BRIC countries are now well established business travel destinations and, with the exception of India, the huge growth in air travel to these destinations is slowing.
“What we’re seeing now is significant growth coming from smaller, less established destinations, like Colombia in Latin America, and Ghana in Africa. These countries are poised for massive growth over the next decade as more international routes open up.”