Business travel worst since September 11th

A report by the National Business Travel Association (NBTA) shows global business travel dropped 8.8 percent in 2009, the worst decline since 9/11.

The study also indicates business travel recovery will not be uniform across the globe. Asia, Latin American and the Middle East are expected to outpace travel growth in North America and Europe.

China, the only nation that experienced increases in travel last year (8.5 percent), and other Asian markets currently spend four times more on business travel spending than the U.S. China is expected to grow by double digits in 2010 and add nearly $130 billion in new business travel spending by 2014 and could surpass the U.S. travel market as early as 2015.

Business travel was responsible for 54 percent of all airline revenue in 2009. This group also accounted for 14 percent of total global hotel and restaurant sales totaling $359 billion in 2009, a decline of almost 7 percent when compared with 2008.

The NBTA report, sponsored by Visa, comes as economic indicators appear to show the recovery backsliding.

The U.S. trade gap widened unexpectedly in June, hitting the highest level since October 2008 and sending the Dow tumbling 256 points Wednesday. Other markets around the globe fell as well. Also, earlier in the week, the Federal Reserve readjusted its expectations for a more modest recovery than previously anticipated.

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