As the world opens up and the economic recovery gathers pace, business travel should soon take off. The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) – the world’s largest business travel and meetings trade association in Washington DC – in its annual outlook said that despite recovery setbacks in 2021, a year-on-year increase another 38% is expected in 2022 as pent-up demand recovers and increases, bringing global business travel spending to over $1 trillion. The recovery will continue through 2023, with global spending growing 23% year-over-year as international and group travel returns. By 2024, global business travel is expected to have fully resumed, ending the year at $1.48 trillion, above spending of $1.4 trillion in 2019 before the pandemic.
According to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Indian carriers increased their weekly flights by 10.1% to 25,309 this summer from 22,980 last year. IndiGo increased its domestic flights by 10.4% to 11,130 weekly flights for the summer of 2022, compared to 10,084 weekly flights during the corresponding period last year. AirAsia India, led by the Tata Group, will operate 1,601 weekly domestic services – a jump of 16% – in the summer of 2022.
A definite increase in business travel has doubled month-on-month since January 2022. “An increase in positive business sentiment should see us end March at 80% of 2019 levels. Businesses such as IT, consulting firms, banking and finance, global accounts, as well as SMEs are fueling the demand for international and domestic travel. Destinations showing high demand include the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom; and from a national perspective Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai and Kolkata. Mumbai is seeing the fastest recovery for business travel in major hubs,” said Indiver Rastogi, President & Group Head – Global Business Travel – Thomas Cook (India) & SOTC.
As companies want to use their budgets, there is a strong pipeline of group sizes ranging from 50 to 600 with budgets reaching upwards of Rs 4 lakh per person for premium groups, showing a clear appetite for spending. “Sporting events are hugely important and have boosted travel intentions. We have a healthy query pipeline for the FIFA World Cup in Qatar and the T20 World Cup in Australia,” added Meera Charnalia – Senior Vice President and Head – MICE, Thomas Cook India.
SOTC Travel has received confirmations for several corporate groups, traveling from April for domestic and international short- and long-haul destinations. “Several groups of various sizes are aligned in sectors such as pharmaceuticals, insurance, cement, textiles, consumer goods, paints, automotive, banking, finance, agriculture for short-haul destinations like Dubai and Abu Dhabi and long-haul Australia and Europe. transportation,” said SD Nandakumar, President and National Head, B2B and Foreign Exchange, SOTC Travel.
The hospitality segment is also feeling the change. Puneet Chhatwal, CEO and Managing Director of Indian Hotels Company, India’s largest hotel brand which operates the Taj hotel chain, recently told FE in an interview that government delegations with Heads of State have conducted the start of business trips.
Puneet Dhawan, Senior Vice President of Operations – India and South Asia – for Accor India, added: “The demand for business travel has multiplied by several in the last 45 days, and we are seeing an increase in the number of international travelers from multinational companies returning to India for events. and meetings. Overall, MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) leads are seeing a positive increase with organizations planning their events that have been suspended for the past two years.
Destination-specific events will also see strong traction with the return of in-person conferences this year. India continues to be among the top five source markets for destinations such as Ras Al Khaimah, one of the seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates. “With the new normal between hybrid and in-person events, we have launched offers for groups and associations and strategic partnerships with event management agencies and wedding planners,” said Iyad Rasbey, Executive Director , Destination Tourism Development and MICE, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism. Development Authority.
Factors such as security and flexibility will also remain a top priority. Private jets are safe for reasons such as minimum touchpoints, airplane seats, and personalized services. The propensity of industrialists to use private jets in recent months has increased. “Companies that were unable to travel during the lockdown have now started using private jets. We have received charter inquiries from companies in India, but they do not intend to make bookings for more than a week due to the uncertainty,” says Santosh Sharma, Co-Founder and CEO of Foresee Aviation, a professional aggregator of private jets and helicopters. , which has received more than 18 to 20 charter requests on average per day over the past two months, 50% of which were for business trips.