Fewer business travelers to hit the road in 2013

NEW YORK — Fewer business travelers are likely to hit the road this year as the travel industry is challenged by corporate America’s persistent economic fears.

Business travelers are expected to take 431.8 million trips in 2013, the Global Business Travel Association said Tuesday. The industry trade group had forecast 435 million trips back in July.

The latest estimate would mean a 1.1 percent decline from the 436.5 million trips taken in 2012.

Fewer people traveling, however, doesn’t mean lower costs. Airfare, hotel rooms, meals and car rentals have helped to push up the overall price of business travel.

In 2012, business travelers spent $254.9 billion, up 1.6 percent from the prior year. This year, the travel association expects another 4.6 percent increase to $266.7 billion. That’s down slightly from the $268.5 billion predicted back in July.

Worries over the tax and budget battle in Washington were blamed for some of the 2012 declines. Now that tax changes have been approved, the business travel group is cautiously optimistic that travel will improve.

“Even with an agreement to avert the fiscal cliff in the near-term, there are still many issues that need to be addressed; however, companies should now have somewhat greater confidence in their spending decisions,” Michael W. McCormick, executive director of the group said in a statement.

He expects conditions to improve in the second half of the year, when “pent-up demand to get back on the road should hopefully fuel accelerating growth in business travel spending.”

Travel to Europe will likely decline due to ongoing economic problems, but the travel association says that a stronger Chinese economy will help boost international trips.

More in Herald Business Journal

Exec director of Future of Flight in Mukilteo stepping down

A former board president will temporarily lead Snohomish County’s most popular tourism attraction.

Seafood producer Keyport moves corporate HQ to Edmonds

The family business sees the city as business friendly — and able to accommodate expansion.

Peoples, HomeStreet banks bump lowest salaries after tax cut

The banks with Snohomish County branches will raise minimum salaries for employees to $15 an hour.

Amazon opens store with no cashiers, lines or registers

The Seattle store allows shoppers to use a smartphone app to pay for items they want.

Trump hits solar panels, washing machines with tariffs

The administration cast the decisions as part of his pledge to put American companies and jobs first.

Electroimpact cuts Mukilteo staff by 9 percent

“What we’re missing now is a monster anchor project,” the company’s VP said.

Exotic animals find compassionate care in Bothell (video)

At the Center for Bird and Exotic Animal Medicine, vets treat snakes, hedgehogs and even kangaroos.

Top CEOs take 4 days to earn a Bangladesh worker’s life pay

Oxfam has sought to put inequality at the heart of this week’s deliberations of the rich and powerful.

Most Read