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UK business travel spend grows 8 per cent in 2015

But Global Business Travel Association warns that Brexit vote will slow market growth in 2016

Pictured: business travel spend in the UK has been estimated to have grown 8.3 per cent last year, from £33.5bn to £36bn

Business travel spend in the UK grew 8.3 per cent last year, passing $47 billion (£36bn), but the Brexit vote is expected to significantly affect growth in 2016.

The new research, from the Global Business Travel Association's (GBTA) BTI Outlook - Annual Global Report & Forecast, saw the UK retain it's position as the fifth largest market for business in the world.

But report authors warn the level of growth is unlikely to continue into 2016 following the Brexit vote on 23 June, suggesting the possibility of a "mild recession".

"The added uncertainty the vote brings will likely make its mark felt on business travel," report authors state.

"The financial upheaval and pending changes to trade and immigration rules will raise management heartburn causing some postponement, and even outright cancellation of business trips. It may also trigger travel budget constriction as management seeks to hedge the uncertainty.

"If the UK does enter a mild recession, domestic and outbound business travel will suffer. On the other hand, a much weaker pound will make leisure and business travel to the UK a real bargain."

GBTA's measurement of the UK's business spend is up 8.3 per cent from 2014, where it was said to be $43.5bn (£33.5bn).

It is a more optimistic snapshot than the recent UK Conference and Meeting Survey 2016 (UKCAMS), which found the value of the UK events industry went from £21.6b to £19.2b (-11 per cent) in 2015.

GBTA found that global spend for the business travel market increased by an average of 5 per cent. The biggest spender was China, which spent $291bn (+11.4 per cent), followed by the US ($289.8bn, +2.2 per cent), Germany ($63.5bn, +9.8 per cent) and Japan ($61bn, +1 per cent).

GBTA also predicts India and Indonesia will average double-digit growth in business travel spend over the next five years.

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