After a dramatic slump during the economic recession, spending on business travel in the U.S. began to climb in 2010 and 2011.
But business travel spending is slowing down, perhaps a sign of anxiety in corporate America over the still shaky economy, turmoil in Europe and slower growth in China, according to a report by the Global Business Travel Assn., the trade group for the world’s travel managers.
“Corporations are in a wait-and-see mode and holding back on investment decisions that would help boost the economy,” said Michael McCormick, the executive director of the group.
The study, sponsored by Visa Inc., predicted that U.S. businesses will spend a total of $257 billion in 2012, a 2.6% increase over the previous year. The increase sounds like good news except that the projected growth pales in comparison to the 5.1% increase in spending in 2010 and the 7.2% increase in 2011, according to the study.
The bad news is that the report attributes most of the spending increase to a rise in travel costs, not in a higher number of trips.
The report predicted that 438 million business trips will be made in the U.S. this year, a drop of 1.6% compared to the 445 million trips in 2011.
Follow Hugo Martin on Twitter at @hugomartin