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Global Business Travel at a Halt

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The Global Business Travel Association’s (GBTA) most recent poll found 96 per cent of GBTA member companies have cancelled and/or suspended all or most international business travel, regardless of location.

“The coronavirus is having a devastating effect on the global business-travel industry the likes of which we’ve never seen,” says Scott Solombrino, COO and executive director, GBTA. “The business-travel industry is directly or indirectly responsible for seven-in-10 jobs throughout the world. It’s imperative that Congress pass a responsible bill as soon as possible to save the industry before its fate is sealed.”

When asked to estimate the percentage of business-travel previously booked for March 2020 that has been cancelled, GBTA members estimate approximately 89 per cent of business trips have been cancelled. This is double the estimate from the March 10 GBTA poll, when members estimated 43 per cent of March 2020 business travel was cancelled due to COVID-19.

Many GBTA member companies have instituted blanket cancellation/suspension of business travel regardless of location, duration or purpose and 41 per cent report their company has cancelled or suspended all business travel. Half (53 per cent) report their company has cancelled or suspended all non-essential trips but allows some essential travel. Almost all respondents have cancelled (95 per cent) and/or postponed (92 per cent) meetings, conferences or events due to COVID-19.

There appears to be a fair bit of uncertainty among respondents regarding when they expect business travel to resume. F;rty per cent predicted it would resume within the next three months, while an equal number were unsure when business travel would resume; 17 per cent expect it will resume in six months, two per cent anticipate eight months and one per cent indicated 12 months.

GBTA has predicted that the global business-travel industry could potentially lose $119.4 billion in revenue per month. For Canada, the potential monthly revenue loss is forecast at $2 billion.

Business travel to Canada appears to be among the least affected, with 59 per cent of respondents indicating they had cancelled or suspended all travel to Canada, compared to 91 per cent for China, 74 per cent to Europe and 75 per cent for Middle East/Africa. Of those surveyed, 69 per cent indicated they had cancelled or suspended all international travel, while 36 per cent indicated they had done so for all domestic travel.

The complete results of the poll are available at gbta.org.

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