Growth in business travel spending (“BTS”) in the three major European economies - Germany, the UK and France - will be nearly flat in 2012, the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) reports in its inaugural “GBTA Business Travel Index (BTI) Outlook – Western Europe.” The economic analysis, sponsored by Visa Inc., estimates that the UK is forecast to grow BTS by 0.7 percent, Germany by 0.6 percent while the French BTS is forecast to decline by 0.6 percent.
Forecast levels of 2012 BTS in Germany, UK and France all exhibit growth in domestic travel, but declines in international outbound spending (“IOB”) with the UK domestic BTS forecast to grow by 2.7 percent but IOB is forecast to fall by 2.8 percent. German domestic BTS is forecast to grow by 1.1 percent but IOB is forecast to fall by 1.4 percent. French domestic BTS is forecast to grow by 0.7 percent but IOB is forecast to fall by 2.7 percent.
Growth levels in 2013 BTS in Germany, the UK and France will be much stronger with both domestic BTS and IOB showing increases: Germany is forecast to grow overall BTS by 5.4 percent, while France is forecast to grow overall BTS by 5.1 percent. The UK is forecast to grow overall BTS by 4.0 percent.
GBTA says Southern European countries, Spain and Italy will experience even steeper declines in BTS due to slower economic growth rates and austerity measures. 2012 is forecast to see declines of 4.1 percent and 5.0 percent for Spain and Italy, respectively.
Overall, the European economic situation will weigh heavily on countries’ economic growth levels. In 2012, GDP in Germany, France and the UK are forecast to grow by 0.5, 0.6 and 0.7 percent respectively. This will be due more to the indirect impact of Southern Europe rather than domestic weaknesses, GBTA says.
Sovereign debt crises in Italy and Spain will lead to 1.8 percent and 1.9 percent declines in 2012 GDP, respectively.
Michael McCormick, executive director and COO of GBTA, commented: “We found that economic growth across Europe will be constrained in 2012 with weakness in the first half giving way to improving prospects later in the year. Increasing economic growth in Germany, France and the UK will be offset by declines in many Southern European economies. Business travel is a leading indicator of the economy, so we’re expecting a challenging scenario over the next year.”
“As for business travel; all five of the countries in the report are relatively mature and together form nearly 70 percent of Europe’s business travel market. As such, the results are highly indicative of the Continent’s overall performance. Forecasts for 2013 are very positive but 2012 shows a significant disconnect between Northern and Southern economies and domestic and international business travel spend,” Paul Tilstone, managing director of GBTA Europe, said.