Western Europe Business Travel Spend to Grow in 2014 and 2015

  • Published by Ozgur Tore

The GBTA Foundation announced the results of its latest GBTA BTI™ Outlook – Western Europe report, a semi-annual analysis of the five most critical business travel markets in Europe: Germany, the UK, France, Italy, and Spain.

business-travellerThe report, sponsored by Visa Inc., includes the GBTA BTI™, a proprietary index of business travel spending that distills market performance over a period of time.
Key highlights of the report include:

  • Business travel spending in the five markets is expected to hit €147.1B ($186.4 billion USD) in 2014, a 4.9% growth over 2013. The projected rate of growth is expected to increase by another 6.6% in 2015, to €156.8B ($198.7 billion USD), as overall spending picks up.
  • 2014 is shaping up to be a true bounce-back year for European travel. Business travel spending in the five European business travel markets advanced by 4.3% over the first half of the year -- the largest gain in business travel spending since 2010.
  • The UK, Sweden, and even Spain experienced growth, while the economies of Italy, France, and Denmark stalled in the first half of 2014. Despite a weak second quarter, the German economy continues to remain one of the most robust in all of Europe.
  • Overall economic conditions throughout Europe continue to be sluggish, however, with only 0.8% growth in Euro Area GDP in the first quarter of 2014 and no growth during the second quarter. High unemployment rates persist and household incomes are not yet increasing at confidence-boosting rates. Businesses continue to be reluctant to borrow, hire, and invest.
  • Given the region’s continued low levels of inflation, slowly improving domestic demand, and more favorable credit conditions, GBTA anticipates modest economic growth going forward. GBTA anticipates an increase in real Euro Area GDP of 0.9% in 2014 and 1.7% in 2015, which will contribute to stronger business travel activity.

Country-Level Business Travel Outlooks

  • Spending on business travel totaled €10.4 billion ($14.3 billion USD) in 2014 Q2, a gain of 7.5% from the same period in 2013.
  • GBTA expects business travel to grow by 7.4% in 2014 and by 10.8% in 2015.
  • International outbound business travel (IOB) from Germany rebounded in 2013, expanding 5.3% over 2012. GBTA expects that spending will grow 6.5% in 2014 but will be tested by slower export growth in 2015.

United Kingdom:

  • The UK had the second highest level of spending on business travel in Western Europe in 2013 -- £26.5 billion ($41.3 billion USD). GBTA expects spending to increase nearly 5% this year and 6% next year.
  • Domestic spending is poised for strong growth in 2014 and 2015, with projected growth rates of 5.6% and 7.7%, respectively.
  • International outbound business travel is projected to grow by 3.7% in 2014 and another 12.1% in 2015.


  • French business travel spending increased by 1.3% during the second quarter of 2014, to €6.6 billion ($9 billion USD).
  • Despite the sluggish economy, GBTA expects total business travel spending to rise by 3.3% in 2014 and by 4.6% in 2015.
  • After significant declines in 2012-13, international outbound spending will grow by 5.4% this year and 2.9% in 2015.


  • The Spanish economy appears to be on the mend, with positive growth for the past few quarters. The IMF forecasts growth of 1.3% in 2014 and 1.7% in 2015, its highest projections for any advanced European economy.
  • The improvement in the economy has increased spending in business travel, with a 6.7% year-over-year increase in such spending during the second quarter of 2014.
  • Both domestic and international outbound travel spending are expected to increase significantly (by at least 4.6%) in both 2014 and 2015.


  • The Italian economy has continued to struggle. The IMF has projected a 0.1% decline in GDP in 2014 and a modest 1.1% increase in 2015.
  • After falling in 2013, business travel spending increased by 1.1% year-over-year in the second quarter of 2014. GBTA anticipates slow travel growth (1.4% and 2%) in 2014 and 2015, respectively.
  • International outbound business travel is expected to increase by 4.7% in 2014 and 6.7% in 2015, a rate at least 3.7 percentage points higher than projected domestic spending growth.

The findings of this research will be presented today at the GBTA Conference 2014- Berlin by Joseph Bates, Vice President, Research GBTA Foundation. Additionally, a webinar will be held on December 2, 2014 discussing these findings.

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