The landscape of business travel in Europe is transforming as the region emerges from the pandemic. According to the 2023 GBTA Business Travel Index™ Outlook report, a collaborative effort between the Global Business Travel Association and Visa, Europe’s business travel spending is expected to exceed pre-pandemic levels by 2025, reaching $414.9 billion. This resurgence, albeit slightly delayed compared to the global trend, paints a promising picture for the region, reflecting a growth trajectory projected to culminate in $449.9 billion by 2027.
This article is going to look at the shifting landscape of business travel in Europe and how companies can best prepare for upcoming changes. Let’s jump in.
Business travel in Europe today in 2023
Europe’s business travel spending experienced a distinct decline in 2021, in large part due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the region rebounded impressively in 2022, registering a growth rate of 93.5% over the previous year – the highest globally. Notably, this resurgence is not uniform across the continent. Western Europe accounts for a substantial 88% of Europe’s business travel spend, whereas Emerging Europe currently lags at 57%, hampered by the ongoing war in Ukraine.
The report highlighted the nuanced adjustments in business travel dynamics – the hybrid work environment has ushered in new challenges, with a discernible shift toward internal meetings and training, and sustainable travel options are gaining prominence, constituting almost a third of recent business trips.
Indeed, Europe is now emerging as a leader in offering alternative, eco-friendly solutions, marking a paradigm shift in the industry.
Current projections and regional disparities across Europe
The 2023 GBTA BTI Outlook report offers a comprehensive snapshot of the European business travel landscape, revealing intriguing insights and projections. Overall, business travel spending in Europe has recuperated to 69% of pre-COVID levels and is anticipated to touch 90% by the end of 2023. Western Europe spearheaded this recovery, surging 109% to $236 billion in 2022, fueled by the return of in-person meetings and events. Conversely, Emerging Europe struggled, reaching only 67% of its 2019 business travel spend.
Germany, the UK, France, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands collectively constituted three-quarters of the region’s expenditures in 2022. However, their recovery rates diverged, with Germany at 65%, the UK at 57%, and Italy at 68% in 2022. In contrast, France (75%), Spain (86%), Netherlands (87%), and the Nordic region (74%) demonstrated more robust rebounds. Looking ahead, Germany is forecasted to reach 89% of 2019 spending levels in 2023, the UK 82%, and Italy 97%. France, Spain, the Netherlands, and the Nordic region are projected to exhibit similar positive trajectories.
While Western Europe remains the third-largest business travel region globally, accounting for 23% of global travel spend in 2022, challenges persist. The ongoing war in Ukraine continues to impact Emerging Europe’s recovery, and disparities between regions highlight the complex tapestry of Europe’s business travel resurgence.
Industry dynamics and future trends
Beyond the geographical nuances, the report delves into the recovery trajectories of various industries. Sectors such as Accommodation and Food Service, Arts, Recreation and Entertainment, and Utilities showcased resilience and a robust return to business travel spending in 2023 compared to 2019. On the flip side, Mining and Quarrying, Retail Trade, Wholesale Trade, and Transportation and Warehousing lag in recovery, indicating a varied industry landscape.
The report also outlines potential game-changers for the future of business travel, specifically noting geo-political factors, economic challenges, sustainability initiatives, remote workforce growth, and the rise of blended travel are influential factors shaping the industry’s long-term forecast. As business travel anticipates a promising rebound, these variables underscore the need for adaptability and strategic planning.
But how do you plan strategically for something that is relatively unprecedented?
The best way is to gain insights from others in the industry – whether colleagues at other companies, corporate roundtables at conferences and other in-person events, or to work with companies that have been helping companies big and small navigate business travel for decades, through other ups and downs that can help glean insights.
Navigate the future of business travel and immigration with Lex Documents
The landscape of business travel in Europe is witnessing a resurgence, and as companies and law firms gear up for increased travel, ensuring a seamless immigration documentation and business visa process becomes increasingly important.
By working with an expert immigration documentation and business visa partner like Lex Documents, who can handle everything from document procurement and legalization, to translations, and business travel visas across Europe and the globe, your company will be best placed to navigate the evolving landscape of business travel.
We partner with business travel consultants and firms to simplify visa and international document procedures.
Our team can explore comprehensive solutions that align with the changing needs of the industry. Contact us to find out how Lex Documents can help you and your business.
And please check out our blog for other articles that may be helpful to your business travel and immigration document processes!