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UK business travel spend nears £39bn, says GBTA

Report reveals market grew 7 per cent, seeing UK hold top five spot in largest global markets

Business travel spend grew almost 7 per cent in the UK in 2016, reaching almost £39 billion, according to the GBTA BTI Outlook Annual Global Report & Forecast.

The report, compiled by Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Research Foundation, found global business travel spend approached USD$1.3 trillion (£1 trillion) in 2016, advancing only 3.5 per cent over 2015 levels. It says global business travel spend will accelerate "significantly" in 2018, advancing 6.1 per cent, followed by roughly 7 per cent growth in both 2019 and 2020, reaching levels not seen since 2011.

The strongest market was China, which grew 9.2 per cent to a total spend of $318b (£245m), followed by the United States at $284b (£218b) despite witnessing business travel spend falling -0.2 per cent.

The Indian market saw the strongest growth, with spend growing 11.4 per cent to $33b (£25b), which saw it overtake Italy and Brazil to become the eighth strongest market. The UK is ranked fifth strongest market, after Germany and Japan, which is unchanged from 2015.

Michael McCormick, GBTA executive director and COO, said: "Global business travel remains a critical driver of the success of organisations around the globe. Stronger footing in emerging markets and continued economic stimulus in the developed world has supported global stability leading to a positive forecast that is unfortunately clouded with more uncertainty than we have seen in decades."

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