Business

Business travel spending likely won’t return to pre-Covid levels until 2026

Lighting tunnel in United Airlines terminal, O’Hare International Airport, Chicago Illinois.

Andrew Woodley | Universal Image Group via Getty Images

Spending on business travel likely won’t recover to pre-pandemic levels until around 2026 – two years later than previously expected – due to inflation, labor shortages and local issues. Politics slows the industry’s recovery, according to a new industry forecast.

Spending by business travelers, a major source of revenue for airlines and hotels, some of the industries hardest hit by the pandemic, is trending up this year. Worldwide spending is expected to grow by nearly 34% in 2022 to $933 billion, according to the Global Business Travel Association’s annual report and forecast, released Monday.

That number is still far short of the more than $1.4 trillion in business travel money generated in 2019, before the Covid pandemic. One reason is that high inflation is increasing travel costs, which the industry group said last week will keep climbing until 2023.

For example, from this year to July, revenue per room availability at hotels in the US was $92.36, up from $88.05 over the same period in 2019, according to preliminary data from the company. STR hotel data company. The occupancy rate was 63%, down from nearly 67% in 2019.

The report forecasts that business travel spending in the US will increase 42% this year from 2021, to nearly $213.4 billion. US airline and hotel executives have announced the return of business travelers this year after many companies halted travel during the pandemic.

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