More Business Travelers to Hit the Road in 2014

Tired Hispanic business traveler in airport
More U.S. business travelers are expected to hit the road in 2014 and they'll be spending more for airfares, hotel rooms and car rentals, according to a report by the Global Business Travel Association released Wednesday.

U.S. business travel spending is expected to rise 6.6 percent to $289.8 billion this year. A main driver is an anticipated more than 12 percent jump in spending on trips overseas to $36.7 billion as the eurozone recovers -- a significant rebound after just 1.8 percent growth in 2013 and 0.8 percent in 2012.

The number of total business trips taken is only expected to be up less than 2 percent to 461 million;
the main reason for the larger bump in dollars spent is that lodging, car rental and airline ticket prices are rising at a faster rate.

Travel spending in 2013 climbed 3.8 percent to $272 billion, though total trips taken fell 0.3 percent, partly due to the government shutdown. Wednesday's forecast is slightly higher than one GBTA provided in October, which called for 2014 spending of $288.8 billion and the number of trips to hit 459.2 million.

Group travel spending is expected to rise more than 6 percent to $124.5 billion, which GBTA Chief Operating Officer Michael W. McCormick said marks the healthiest growth outlook for meetings activity since 2011.

"Meetings are typically larger investments that require advance planning, and companies only make these decisions when they have confidence in the longer-term outlook for the economy," he noted in the report.

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