Coronavirus and Meetings
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The latest flash member poll from the Global Business Travel Association confirms that a near-total stoppage of corporate travel is occurring internationally, creating a potential monthly revenue loss of $119.4 billion. The organization received more than 1,155 responses to its survey from March 18-21.
"The coronavirus is having a devasting effect on the global business travel industry, the likes of which we have never seen," said Scott Solombrino, COO and executive director of GBTA. "We urge Congress to come together and pass a financial package that will help the industry survive in these unprecedented times. The business travel industry is directly or indirectly responsible for seven in ten jobs throughout the world. It is imperative that Congress pass a responsible bill as soon as possible to save the industry before its fate is sealed."
Nearly every GBTA member company -- 96 percent -- indicated they have cancelled or suspended all or most international business travel, regardless of location. More than four out of five (82 percent) have cancelled or suspended all or most domestic business trips. Broken down geographically, the percentage of member companies who have cancelled or suspended all or most travel to the following locations are as follows:
- China, 99 percent cancelled or suspended
- Hong Kong, 99 percent
- Taiwan, 98 percent
- Other Asia-Pacific countries, 97 percent
- Europe, 96 percent
- Middle East/Africa, 95 percent
- Latin America, 92 percent
- Canada, 89 percent
- United States, 85 percent
More than half of respondents (53 percent) said their companies have cancelled or suspended all nonessential travel, while 41 percent said their companies have cancelled or suspended all business travel across the board. Respondents estimated that 89 percent of business travel that had been booked for March had been cancelled; that's more than double the 43 percent that respondents estimated in response to the March 10 poll.
Of course, these numbers all have a direct effect on meetings. Almost all companies (95 percent) have cancelled and nearly as many (92 percent) have postponed meetings, conferences or events as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Nearly one-third (31 percent) said that meetings or events have been moved to other locations.
The financial impact is already being felt, with nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of member companies describing the revenue hit as significant and 19 percent indicating it is moderate. Looking just at the supplier membership, the numbers are more intense -- with 94 percent saying the coronavirus impact is having a significant effect on the company's revenue.
Based on statistics from the 2019 GBTA BTI Outlook Annual Global Report & Forecast and the percentage of cancelled trips, the global revenue loss is projected to run $119.4 billion every month, with the most affected countries or regions being China ($35.1 billion), Europe ($31 billion) and the United States ($23.1 billion). More than half of respondents expect travel to resume within the next three (40 percent) or six (17 percent) months, while 40 percent confess they are unsure when they will begin traveling again.