Messaging regarding the recovery of the business travel segment has been mixed. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of the industry’s leading voices have claimed that business travel will never fully recover due to changing working habits – namely remote working and digital nomadism; company cost reduction; and a growing awareness of environmental issues.
Indeed, international business travel has been recovering at a slower rate than leisure tourism. That is, at least, until the fourth quarter of 2022. From October, business travel begins to outstrip leisure. While the latter’s recovery is decelerating as a result of factors including inflation, the recovery of business travel – a less price-sensitive segment – is gaining momentum.
Leading the recovery of business travel are the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, where, at several points this year, business recovery has far outperformed that of leisure. This trend is set to accelerate in the fourth quarter, reaching its peak in December.
The fourth quarter of 2022 will also see business outstripping leisure recovery in the European Union and the United Kingdom as well as, to a lesser extent, the United States and Canada. Therefore, although the business segment is undoubtedly facing threats to its continued success, current trends suggest that this form of travel will be around for some time yet.
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