Female businesswoman walking through airport

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Global business travel is expected to see an uptick in 2023 versus 2022, according to the Global Business Travel Association’s (GBTA) Q1 2023 Business Travel Outlook Poll. GBTA surveyed more than 600 business-travel buyers, suppliers and industry professionals.

The key takeaways from this latest poll are:

  • Business leaders may anticipate a recession this year, but travel managers are anticipating more business travel, with 78 per cent of travel managers expecting their company will take a lot more (22 per cent) or more (55 per cent) business trips in 2023 versus 2022;
  • An overwhelming 90 per cent of respondents believe their employees are willing to travel for business, while 88 per cent report feeling more optimistic about the path to recovery compared to last month;
  • Almost nine in 10 suppliers (86 per cent) expect spending by corporate customers in 2023 will be much higher (26 per cent) or somewhat higher (60 per cent) compared to 2022;
  • On average, travel buyers estimate their companies’ current domestic business travel bookings have returned to 67 per cent of pre-pandemic 2019 levels;
  • Travel buyers estimate international business-travel bookings have recovered to 54 per cent, up slightly from 50 per cent in October;
  • The top industries leading the return to business-travel spending are finance and insurance (34 per cent); professional, consulting, scientific and technical (32 per cent); and software, hardware and technology (25 per cent);
  • The industries lagging in the return to business-travel spending are non-profits, associations and foundations (35 per cent); educational services (22 per cent); and software, hardware and technology (24 per cent);
  •  The top areas for business-travel spending in 2023 are sales/account management meetings (28 per cent); internal meetings with colleagues (20 per cent); and conferences, trade shows and industry events (18 per cent);
  • Almost half of travel suppliers (47 per cent) report their company’s staffing level is somewhat or much smaller than it was pre-pandemic, while 28 per cent say it is about the same;
  • Two in three travel suppliers (65 per cent) expect staffing will increase a lot or somewhat in 2023 compared to 2022, while 26 per cent expect no change;
  • Many buyers expect to increase spending for their travel program operations, such as staff salaries, technology and consultants, in 2023 versus last year. Almost half of buyers (45 per cent) expect the budgets will be higher, while 41 per cent expect them to be about the same; and
  • Among all respondents, 56 per cent support policies requiring proof of a negative COVID-19 test or proof of recent recovery in order to enter China, the U.S., Japan and Italy

“GBTA continues to draw on the collective, diverse perspectives and insights across our industry to closely track the evolving state of global business travel. The return of business travel will vary across regions, sectors and companies. And despite ongoing global concerns of a recession, a majority of corporate travel managers indicate their companies are anticipating more business travel than last year,” says Suzanne Neufang, CEO, GBTA.


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