Business Travel Forecasted to Reach $1.8 Trillion by 2027

The industry is now expected to recover fully in 2024, according to the Global Business Travel Association.

Photo Credit: Global Business Travel Association

The global business travel industry has rebounded faster than predicted a year ago, according to the latest Business Travel Index Outlook report from the Global Business Travel Association. The industry is now expected to surpass its prepandemic spending level of $1.4 trillion in 2024 and grow to nearly $1.8 trillion by 2027. 

Last year, business-travel spending rose 47 percent to $1.03 trillion globally, and 32 percent growth is expected for 2023. These gains were fueled by pent-up demand from the pandemic, better economic conditions worldwide and recession risks that have yet to come to fruition. 

"The headwinds that were anticipated to impact the rebound of global business travel over the past year didn't materialize and that is good news," said Suzanne Neufang, CEO of GBTA. "Business-travel spending is a key indicator, but how travel volumes will continue to rebound is yet to be seen."

Released at the GBTA Convention in Dallas, this year's BTI now features a survey of 4,700 business travelers across four regions, representing insights regarding their travel preferences, behaviors and spending, as well as what their average price of a business trip now. 

Highlights from the latest BTI Outlook:

  • The estimated breakdown of the $1.03 trillion in expenditures includes $395 billion on lodging, $191 billion on food and beverage, $183 billion on air travel, $138 billion on ground transportation, and $121 billion on other travel expenses.
  • The two biggest drivers in the industry's stabilization over the last six months have been the return of in-person meetings and the recovery of international travel.
  • Western Europe was the fastest-growing region in 2022, while North America and Latin America saw spending accelerate significantly. Emerging Europe continues to lag in its recovery, challenged by the war in Ukraine.
  • Asia-Pacific experienced the slowest growth due to the delayed reopening of China. Chinese spending on business travel fell 4.6 percent last year, dropping China to the second-largest business-travel market in the world for the first time since 2014. However, China is expected to recover to the top slot by the end of this year.
  • Numerous challenges remain looking forward, such as persistent inflation, the war in Ukraine, tighter financial conditions globally and deterioration in the manufacturing sector.
  • An increased focus on sustainability initiatives, widespread adoption of meeting technologies, growth in the remote workforce and the rise of bleisure are potential game-changers in the future of business travel.
  • 82 percent of the 4,700 business travelers surveyed said that business travel was very or moderately worthwhile in achieving their business objectives.
  • Business trips today cost an average of $1,018 per person, and they spend $391 on lodging, $189 on food and beverage, $182 on airfare, $136 on ground transportation, and $120 on miscellaneous expenses.
  • People are blending work trips with vacation more frequently than they did in 2019, with 42 percent adding leisure days to business trips and 79 percent of these travelers staying at the accommodations they have reserved for their work trip.

Download the executive summary for the 2023 GBTA Business Travel Index Outlook here. Members can download the full report on the GBTA hub.