Business travel declining
Posted: Monday, July 16, 2012 9:03 pm
NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. companies are scaling back their travel plans in response to Europe’s financial crisis and uncertainty about the economy at home.
American business travelers are expected to take 437.9 million trips this year, according to the Global Business Travel Association. That’s down 1.2 percent from an April estimate made by the travel and meetings trade group.
The outlook for next year is even worse, with the trade group lowering its forecast to 435 million trips, down 1.9 percent from April’s estimate.
While fewer people will travel, they should spend slightly more thanks to increased airfare, hotel rooms and other travel costs. The trade group expects overall travel spending to rise 2.2 percent this year to $256.5 billion, and then increase another 4.7 percent next year to $268.5 billion.
The European crisis is having a direct impact on U.S. airlines. The three largest carriers serving Europe are seeing fewer passengers flying across the Atlantic. But demand for trips to Latin America and Asia is on the rise.
At United Airlines, part of United Continental Holdings. Inc., traffic across the Atlantic fell 1.6 percent for the first five months of this year. At the same time, Latin America and the Pacific had 4.3 and 4.5 percent increases, respectively.