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'Major weak point' as US outbound travel flatlines

GBTA says business travel in US being shackled by economic factors - and the presidential election

Pictured: GBTA Foundation says international outbound travel for the US is a major weak point, while group business travel remains more positive

Business travel in the US is still being "shackled" by the upcoming presidential election and sluggish global expansion.

The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Foundation's latest business forecast for the US predicts total business travel volume will increase 1 per cent in 2016, yet spending will fall by 0.6 per cent. Other influencing factors it lists in its GBTA BTI Outlook United States 2016 Q3 report are low inflation, weak investment and choppy geopolitical conditions.

International outbound travel continues to be a "major weak point" for the US business travel market, the report continues, with volume expected to increase 0.6 per cent this year, while group business travel volume remains "positive" in 2016, growing 1.3 per cent.

Looking ahead to 2017, the research body says spending will rise 3.8 per cent to $293.1 billion (£240bn), although that will largely be driven by price inflation. International outbound business will grow another 0.6 per cent next year while group travel will accelerate to 2.5 per cent.

"Businesses are hiring and paying better wages, but business travel spending is stalled something we rarely see happen," said Michael McCormick, GBTA executive director and COO.

"The ongoing global uncertainty and added heartburn from a presidential election unlike any we have ever seen are causing many businesses to stay in a holding pattern, taking an extremely cautious wait-and-see approach bordering on paranoia. This begs the question of whether many of these companies will be ready when growth does re-accelerate. To be prepared for lasting business growth, companies must be ready with the newest technologies, the most productive workforce and the critical customer relationships necessary to take full advantage."

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