Business travel

COVID Variants Business Travel Recovery Slows Down: Business Traveler USA

GBTA poll finds employee willingness to travel declines slightly month-over-month, but optimism continues to rise

The outlook for the return of business travel in general remains optimistic, but the COVID-19 delta variant continues to hamper the recovery. This according to the Global Business Travel Association’s September Business Travel Sentiment Tracking Survey.

The survey is the 23rd conducted by the association since the start of the pandemic to measure the progress of the return of business trips.

This month’s survey found that companies allow non-essential domestic business travel (61%) more frequently than non-essential international business travel (34%, in line with August poll results.

In each of the past three months, the percentage of travel managers who rate their company employees as “willing” or “very willing” to travel for business in today’s environment has declined steadily, from 77 % in July to 68% in the September poll.

In addition, concerns over increasing variants of COVID-19 continue to delay the resumption of non-essential business travel, both nationally and internationally. Among buyer and contact members whose companies ‘never’ or ‘rarely’ allow non-essential business travel, eight in 10 say their business is likely to delay the resumption of domestic (81%) and international (80%) business. ) not essential. travel due to the prevalence of delta and other variations.

Brighter days to come?

Still, optimism continues to rise, with more than one in five (22%) of respondents from travel suppliers and travel management companies saying they are more optimistic than a month ago. In the August poll, that number was 15 percent.

The percentage of those who say they feel more pessimistic about the industry’s path to recovery fell from 39% in August to 27% in the latest poll. Almost half (51%) say they feel the same way.

In line with the August findings, few respondents say their company has introduced new restrictions on non-essential business travel at this point due to the COVID-19 delta or other variants. Half (51%) say their business is unlikely to impose new travel limits, while less than one in four (23%) say their business has introduced new travel restrictions.

“It is no surprise that for a second consecutive month, buyers and suppliers to the travel industry continue to report continued caution regarding travel variants and restrictions as key factors impacting this. which would otherwise be a more accelerated return to business travel, ”said Suzanne Neufang, CEO of GBTA. .

“The latest news about the opening of the USA UK and EU business travelers will hopefully alleviate some of the concerns and provide a much needed boost to the business travel ecosystem until the end of the year. “

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