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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Business travel growth expected to slow

Business travel growth expected to slow

Corporate America is still on the road, but travel shows signs of slowing amid the nation's sluggish economic recovery.

Business travelers are now expected to take 447.2 million trips this year, up 2.3 percent from last year, but down from a projected increase of 3.4 percent just three months ago, the Global Business Travel Association said Tuesday.

"By the end of 2010, it looked like the light at the end of the `recession tunnel' was becoming brighter as the economy overall and business travel specifically were gathering positive momentum. We've now hit a soft patch in the economic revival," Michael W. McCormick, executive director of the group said in a statement.

The higher cost of travel is keeping spending on pace at $250.2 billion, up nearly 7 percent from last year, and the same outlook as three months ago. The group still expects travel spending to continue next year with a 5.8 percent increase. It's forecast to reach pre-recession levels by the middle of next year.

The driving force continues to be international travel, which is growing at a faster pace than domestic business trips and costs significantly more on average.

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