Braintrust: Global business travel may not recover until 2025

According to Braintrust’s Tourism Barometer on the recovery of business travel, the sector will see growth rates of more than 50% in the next two years. It will not return to pre-COVID levels until 2025, given the unstoppable advance of certain conditions, which the consultancy already predicted before the pandemic, and which are now accelerating.

Among the positive impacts, the consultancy highlights:

  • Progress on mass vaccination in major Western business travel countries, and the implementation of the digital green certificate in Europe.
  • More travel in an evolved, globalized economy, where collaboration between large and small companies (and freelancers) will be greater.
  • New reasons for travel, such as meetings that will bring together remote workers more regularly, or strategic events that will bring together much smaller numbers of people much more frequently.
  • Common policies in the European Union and Global Partnerships that will favor the exchange of people in international projects.
  • Increased activity in the bleisure segment, as new generations of travelers combine work and leisure.
  • New economies that will emerge in the heat of a new society, such as the green economy, the digital economy or the circular economy.

Among the constraints that can have a negative impact are:

  • A scenario of volatility and health insecurity will continue to affect long-haul travel, in countries without group immunity, impacting significantly on the total market volume in 2022 and 2023.
  • Potential emergence of new variants of the coronavirus, which would slow down recovery in parts of the world, if vaccines do not cover their performance.
  • The rise of teleworking, which is here to stay, and whose influence will significantly reduce commuting.
  • The use of digital tools, which have accelerated a hybrid face-to-face communication format, eliminating some of the non-essential travel, especially internal meetings to nearby destinations.
  • The disappearance of a business fabric damaged by the crisis once public aid comes to an end, especially small and medium-sized businesses and the self-employed, a large part of the travelers in these times of pandemic.
  • The arrival of a new generation of travelers with work-life balance in their DNA, where millennials and Gen Z’s are the majority, and where the baby boomers more used to traveling for work are retiring from the work scene.
  • The Sustainable Development Goals included in the 2030 agenda, fed by all government policies, which will favor the culture of more respectful companies and more responsible travelers, with more restrictive policies, the effect of which would be very relevant for travel in the coming years.

Against this backdrop, Braintrust anticipates that, although business travel will recover sharply in the coming months—on the back of the holiday market—its high growth rates of recent decades will disappear in the face of a more conscious business travel.

Thus, it reveals that this year would reach 52% of the volume of 2019, with a significant upturn in 2022 and 2023 to reach 83%, and then rise to pre-COVID levels in the following two years, and continue to grow at much more moderate levels given the strength of sustainability that will characterize the entire tourism industry, as long as the evolution of the pandemic goes as planned.

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