American business travellers are now expected to take 437.9 million trips this year, according to the Global Business Travel Association, a fall of about 1.2% from an estimate made in April by the travel and meetings trade group. USA companies have been scaling back their travel plans in response to Europe’s financial crisis and uncertainty about the economy at home. The outlook for business travel next year is even worse, with the trade group lowering its forecast to 435 million trips, once again down by 1.9% percent from the April 2012 estimate.
There seems to be a slight silver lining though as although fewer people will travel, they should spend slightly more thanks to increased airfare, hotel rooms and other travel costs.
The Global Business Travel Association expects overall travel spending to rise this year and increase again in 2013.
The affect of the European crisis is having a direct impact on U.S. airlines. The three largest carriers serving Europe are seeing fewer passengers flying across the Atlantic. But demand for trips to Latin America and Asia is on the rise.
Airlines rely on business travellers who often buy more-expensive, last-minute tickets and pay higher fees for comfort and inflight convenience. However, it appears that sales of firstclass and business class seats may also be slowing, according to the latest report from The International Air Transport Association.