GBTA: Government Shutdown Is Hurting Business Travel

In a new survey of business travel professionals revealing the impact of the government shutdown, the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), found that nearly 7 in 10 (66 percent) are concerned that a shutdown longer than one week will negatively impact their business, and nearly as many (59 percent) are concerned about the impact on their business from a possible government default.

As we near the end of week two of the shutdown, the anxiety only worsens, GBTA reports. Roughly 40 percent of respondents say the shutdown has impacted them, their company and/or their company’s employees.

U.S. business travel spending is a major driver of the global economy, GBTA says. Finally surpassing pre-recession levels, U.S. business travel spending is expected to reach $273 billion this year. The government shutdown, however, is severely impacting the business travel industry, creating uncertainty and lost revenue.

“The shutdown is damaging productivity and leading to lost business opportunities and revenue that can’t be recovered,” said Michael W. McCormick, GBTA Executive Director and COO. “With two-thirds of our members concerned that the shutdown is negatively impacting their businesses, the wide-ranging impact on this industry is clear. This uncertainty hurts employee morale, holds back business growth and, if not stopped, can easily deliver a serious blow to the overall global economy.”

The top three ways the shutdown has negatively impacted those in the business travel industry are cancelled meeting or business opportunities in the United States (57 percent), increased uncertainty about the economy (57 percent) and cancelled bookings (50 percent), GBTA says.

Also high on the list are cancelled or delayed contracts with government agencies (48 percent), staff reductions due to reduced business activities (32 percent) and increased concern among travelers about airline delays and cancellations due to possible reduced air traffic controllers (29 percent).

GBTA surveyed 257 members in an online poll conducted October 8.