Business travel in the US is already being affected by the partial shutdown of the country’s government and fears of a potential default later this week.
A survey by the GBTA found that 40 per cent of respondents said they had already been hit by the government shutdown which started on October 1 with meetings being cancelled in the US, increased economic uncertainty and cancelled travel bookings.
There are fears that the business travel sector could suffer much more badly if the US fails to raise its debt ceiling by the deadline on Thursday (October 16). Some 59 per cent of respondents to the GBTA survey said a US government default would be “a serious concern”.
Michael McCormick, GBTA executive director, said: “The business travel industry is a key driver of the US economy, and business travel is looking at a strong rebound year in 2014.
“The current government shutdown and potential default couldn’t have come at a worse time. Just as we’re finally turning a corner, all of these gains are being put at risk.”
GBTA is predicting that spending on corporate travel in the US is set to rise by 7.2 per cent next year to $288.8 billion with trips set to increase by 1.6 per cent to $459.2 million. But these forecasts could be wrecked by a US default.
“We strongly urge Congress to recognise the damage caused by these unnecessary disruptions to US business travel and keep our country open for business," added McCormick.