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Chart of the week: business travel spending to pick up pace in 2022

Global spending on business travel is expected to continue picking up pace in 2022, according to a new report.

Research from ‘Adapting to Endemic Covid-19: The Outlook for Business Travel’ shows spending is to increase 26% in 2021 and a further 34% in the following year.

It was found the Middle East will register the strongest recovery in spending, by 49% this year and 32% in the next.  

Spending in Europe is projected to rise by 36% in 2021, followed by a lower 28% growth in 2022.

Following chart gives a forecast of the regional expenditures on corporate travel:

Sector-wise, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and construction that require a physical presence have reported an early rebound. 

Meanwhile, service-oriented and knowledge industries are likely to witness longer disruptions in international travel.

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) partnered with McKinsey & Company to interview key industry leaders and stakeholders in the travel and tourism sector. 

This report includes insights on the changing trends, challenges and opportunities as business travel adapts to Covid-19.

What’s behind the figures?

Global business travel spending fell by 61% in 2020 but has been recovering steadily.

Vaccine rollouts and virus management strategies will be key to recovery even as international border restrictions ease across many regions.

Julia Simpson, WTTC CEO and President says: “Business travel is starting to pick up. We expect to see two thirds back by the end of 2022.” 

The slower growth in 2022 could be attributed to the reintroduction of travel restrictions and changing corporate policies with the possibility of the emergence of new Covid-19 variants.

Moreover, individual choice would also factor in as travellers might avoid countries with low vaccination rates.

As Gunther Bright, executive vice president at American Express says: “One of the biggest threats to recovery is the psychology of the traveller; does he/she feel comfortable travelling or not?”

What does it mean for event organisers?

Reaching pre-pandemic levels of spending on business travel could be difficult as WHO experts predict Covid-19 becoming endemic in a less potent form. 

This means event professionals will have to plan future strategies while keeping in mind the lingering threat of the virus.

Some recommended ways to adjust and thrive in a continuing scenario of uncertainty:

1) Adopt hybrid business model for events

Provide both in-person and digital options for your audience. Most will want to attend an event physically however others could be more keen on virtual participation. Learn how to plan and execute hybrid experiences with our blueprint.  

2) Expand geographic focus with new business partnerships

Attract new clients and expand business operations by collaborating with partners in potential markets. This will minimise the need to travel to new regions. For example, read about ExpoPlatform’s partnership with Adventics for German market growth.  

3) Offer omnichannel marketplace

Connect buyers and sellers any time of the year by developing an “always available” online marketplace. This allows them to continue conversations and take business decisions – even if travel is restricted. Download our Marketplace Blueprint to know how to set up one for your events.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article and found it useful. At ExpoPlatform, we want to help you build better events and communities. Please get in touch and ask for a demo here. Thank you.