The Middle East and Asia Pacific regions will lead the recovery
A new report by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) forecasts that business travel spend will reach two-thirds of pre-Covid levels by 2022, with the Middle East and Asia Pacific regions set to lead the way.
The report – entitled ‘Adapting to Endemic Covid-19: The Outlook for Business Travel’ and produced in collaboration with management consulting firm McKinsey & Company – suggests that a modest rise in business travel spend of 26% during 2021 will be followed by a further rise of 34% in 2022.
The report also forecasts that the growth rate will vary across different areas of the world, with the Middle East leading in terms of performance with a rise of 49% in business travel spending this year, followed by a further 32% increase next year.
Asia Pacific follows with rates of +32% in 2021 and +41% in 2022. By contrast, business travel spend is only forecasted to rise by 14% in the Americas this year, followed by a further 35% next year.
In addition, the rise in business travel spend across the Middle East, Asia Pacific, Europe and Africa is set to outstrip the rise in leisure spend this year.
The report added that some business travel sectors have fared better than others “with early rebounders including manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and construction companies, while service-orientated and knowledge industries – healthcare, education, and professional services – are likely to experience longer-term disruption”.
It also highlighted the importance of business travel for the travel and hospitality industry, noting that prior to the pandemic, business travel accounted for around 70% of all global revenue for high-end hotel chains, while between 55 and 75% of airline profits came from business travellers, who made up around 12% of passengers.