In a recent report from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), global corporate travel spending increased more than expected in 2013, and the research shows that 2014 will continue to rise, International Business Times reported.
The GBTA forecasts that corporate travel spending will increase in 2014 because of the strong investment in international outbound travel, which was an underperforming sector in the last two years, IB Times reported. The research shows that corporate travel spending will grow by 12.5 percent in 2014 to $36.7 billion, which would be the first double digit growth in years.
The ongoing development in the euro zone – the largest trading partner of the U.S. – is the reason behind the large boost in travel for 2014. According to IB Times, the GBTA estimates U.S. business travel spending to grow by 6.6 percent to $289.8 billion in 2014, and the research expects the total trip volume to increase 1.7 percent to 461 million trips. The U.S. corporate travel spending grew by only 3.8 percent to $272 billion in 2013, and the total trip volume dipped 0.3 percent to 453.3 million trips.
"If our elected officials have finally gotten the message that political uncertainty and brinksmanship stifles economic growth, we should be looking at a very healthy year for U.S. business travel," Michael McCormick, executive director at GBTA, said in an official statement, according to IB Times. "Airports and hotels will be busy as American companies gain confidence and invest in travel to drive growth."
Travel risks still a concern
While the corporate travel industry is expected to grow in 2014, travel risks still loom for businesses. In a recent survey of 250 security travel and HR managers, nearly 75 percent of respondents said they upped their global travel in 2013, and around half are expected to increase it more in 2014. However, the 46 percent of the respondents still said the greatest risk to their employees was travel to the Middle East and North Africa, and 26 percent cited Lain America as the greatest risk.
"International businesses are not only becoming more aware of opportunities in emerging markets, they are relying upon them," Eric Hankins, senior director of travel risk solutions at NC4, said in an official statement. "In order to capitalize on these opportunities, businesses must assess the temperature of those markets with people on the ground. Protecting such assets in high-risk places is critical."
Businesses engaging in global corporate travel need an incident management system to increase situational awareness by identifying risks before they can harm to employees or a company's assets.