According to the latest forecast by the US Travel Association, business travel will bounce back and reach pre-pandemic levels in 2024, the year when the world should have recovered entirely from coronavirus.
The organization predicts that 2021 US business transient and group spending will total $93 billion and $43 billion, respectively, up from $59 billion and $28 billion in 2020, but considerably less than the pre-pandemic levels of $157 billion and $113 billion in 2019.
There Is Reason for Optimism
According to the US Travel Association’s forecast, these spending numbers are expected to increase continuously in the next two years. In 2024, the organization projects that US business transient and group spending will reach $164 billion and $113 billion, to match 2019 levels at least.
The US Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow said in a statement, “While we see much reason for optimism on the horizon, our forecast reveals that travel’s recovery is uneven with much work ahead to ensure all segments reach pre-pandemic levels.”
He added, “We believe that the US can implement smart, effective policies that bring back international visitors more quickly and spur business and professional travel to accelerate an economic and jobs rebound.”
One of these policies that he suggests the US federal government should impose, according to the US Travel Association, are steps to make sure the Transportation Security Administration and the Customs and Border Protection operations are fully staffed and the enactment of a temporary tax credit for event organizers, meeting venues, and small business to help increase the demand for meetings and that business travel will bounce back. The organization has also asked for permitting full tax-deductibility of business entertainment expenses for at least a temporary period.
The Meetings Mean Business Coalition Has Joined US Travel
The organization said on Monday that the Meetings Mean Business Coalition (MMBC) had joined US Travel.
The coalition was created following the 2007 – 2008 economic downturn when lavish corporate events were criticized for highlighting meetings’ economic and business importance.
According to the organization, the integration into US Travel will allow MMBC to “benefit more directly from the association’s robust public affairs resources and advocacy network while providing greater value to coalition members as business travel and professional meetings and events rebuild from steep pandemic-related losses.”
It was not evident whether the move included financial considerations.