Business travel in western Europe is set to grow strongly in both 2016 and 2017 despite the threat of Brexit, terror attacks and the continuing migrant crisis.
The latest forecast from GBTA predicts that spending on corporate travel will rise to $211.2 billion this year, which would be a 6.3 per cent increase on 2015, and then grow by another 6.8 per cent next year to $225.6 billion.
GBTA said that the main reasons for this projected growth in spending included low oil prices and interest rates, improved employment prospects and higher consumer spending.
Despite the threat of the UK voting to leave the EU in June 23’s referendum, GBTA is predicting a 7.9 per cent rise in UK business travel spending in 2016 which would make the market worth $47.1 billion.
This is a faster level of growth than forecast for the other four major economies in western Europe this year: Germany (+ 7.6 per cent), France (+ 3.9 per cent), Spain (+6.5 per cent) and Italy (+3.6 per cent).
Although GBTA is predicting that the rate of growth in UK spending will fall to6.9 per cent in 2017, while Germany’s will pick up by 9.3 per cent next year.
Catherine McGavock, GBTA’s regional vice president – EMEA, said: “What’s most impressive about these results is that Europe has faced a seemingly endless array of challenges recently.
“From the Greek debt crisis to the influx of Syrian refugees, terrorist attacks in several European capitals, and the pending UK referendum on possibly exiting the bloc, the business travel market has not only endured, but thrived – growing at a greater rate over the last year than many of the other large business travel markets across the globe.”
GBTA is also predicting that international business travel from the UK will increase by 9.8 per cent in 2016 and then by 8.9 per cent next year. Domestic travel is set to grow more slowly: increasing by 6.9 per cent in 2016 and then 5.8 per cent in 2017.
The report added that domestic travel accounts for around 65 per cent of all UK corporate market.