GBTA: Nearly All Business Travel Is Cancelled or Suspended

Business travel come to a halt across the globe as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, according to the latest research conducted by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA).

Among the key findings: Companies are canceling or suspending almost all business travel regardless of country or region. GBTA members report their companies have canceled or suspended “all” or “most” business trips to the destinations included (China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Other Asia-Pacific Countries, Europe, Middle East/Africa, Latin America, Canada and the U.S.), The destination with the “best” response (the U.S.) is seeing 94 percent of trips cancelled or suspended; China is seeing 99 percent cancelled or suspended. All the others are in the middle.

Almost every GBTA member company (98 percent) reports canceling and/or suspending all international business travel. In addition, 92 percent report they have canceled or suspended all or most domestic travel. Most GBTA members based in the United States (93 percent) and Europe (92 percent) report their company has canceled or suspended all or most domestic business travel. 

GBTA members vary in terms of when they expect business travel to resume. Slightly more than half expect travel to resume within the next two (32 percent) or three (19 percent) months, while 16 percent are unsure.

Almost every travel company (96 percent) characterizes the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as significant. Two-thirds of GBTA members who work for suppliers and/or travel management companies (TMC) report their company has laid off (69 percent), furloughed (66 percent) and cut staff salaries (66 percent) as a result of the pandemic. On average, suppliers and TMCs who have laid off or furloughed employees estimate that nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of the employees at their companies have been affected by these actions.

When asked to assess employee willingness to travel once restrictions are lifted, the majority of GBTA member companies expect most (33 percent) or some (33 percent) employees will be willing to travel. A much smaller proportion anticipates unwillingness on the part of some (13 percent) or most (2 percent) employees to travel. 

As one would expect, the coronavirus has led many companies to host virtual meetings. To note: The vast majority of GBTA member companies report they use virtual meetings frequently (83 percent) or occasionally (11 percent) due to physical distancing concerns.  

It’s interesting to note that a majority of GBTA members (62 percent) expect that the coronavirus will change the way their company conducts business once the threat is over.

GBTA conducted a poll of its members across the globe from April 1-4, 2020 and received responses from 974 GBTA global member companies. 


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