GBTA research highlights “devastating effect” on business travel industry

GBTA research highlights “devastating effect” on business travel industry

Alexandria, Va.  – COVID-19 continues to impact the global business travel industry worldwide, according to the latest research conducted by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA).

Ninety-six percent of GBTA members surveyed report they have canceled and/or suspended all or most international business travel regardless of location.

“The coronavirus is having a devastating effect on the global business travel industry the likes of which we have never seen,” said Scott Solombrino, GBTA COO and executive director. “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 10 jobs throughout the world.”

To understand the effect of COVID-19 on business travel, GBTA conducted its fourth related poll among membership from March 18 to 21. They received responses from 1,155 member companies throughout the world.

Among the poll’s key findings are:

  • It is estimated the coronavirus could cost the U.S. business travel industry $23.1 billion monthly;
  • Eighty-five percent of GBTA members report their companies have canceled or suspended “all” or “most” business trips to the U.S.;
  • A majority of GBTA members based in the U.S. (84 percent) report their company has canceled or suspended all or most domestic business travel;
  • Many GBTA member companies have instituted blanket cancelation/suspension of business travel regardless of location, duration, or purpose;
  • GBTA member companies have measures to protect employees including work from home policies (85 percent), providing updated health and safety information to employees (79 percent), and developing contingency plans such as increased teleconferences and video meeting (70 percent). Other actions include limiting the number of people who work in the office (59 percent), while 26 percent report their company has temporarily closed all but essential departments, closed the office entirely (25 percent), or 11 percent moved some employees to new locations;
  • Almost all GBTA member companies have canceled and/or postponed meetings, conferences, or events due to the coronavirus. Only 31 percent report meetings or events have been moved to other locations;
  • GBTA members vary in when they expect business travel to resume, with 57 percent expecting travel to resume within the next three or six months, while 40 percent said they are unsure when travel will resume;
  • Coronavirus’s financial toll is severe, with 73 percent of GBTA member companies describing the impact as “significant.” Another 19 percent characterize the financial impact as “moderate”; and
  • GBTA member companies continue to alter travel policies due to the coronavirus. Seventy percent report their company instituted new policies pertaining to travel approval – an increase of 15 percentage points since the last poll results released on March 10. In addition, companies continue to modify travel safety and security policies in response to coronavirus with seven in 10 reporting their company has modified traveler safety policies – an increase of eight percentage points from the previous poll.

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