International business travel from the UK will fall this year, but it is expected to make a full recovery in 2013, according to latest forecasts from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA).
Debt troubles in southern Europe will more than offset any benefit that British travellers will gain in purchasing power in the eurozone from the relative strength of sterling, it said, leading to a 2.8% drop in overseas travel spend this year.
Its inaugural annual Business Travel Index Outlook - Western Europe economic analysis, found that overall spending in the three major economies of the UK, Germany and France would be almost flat this year.
The UK is forecast to grow only 0.7%, with a 2.7% rise in domestic business travel spend but a 2.8% fall in international outbound spending.
GBTA executive director and chief operating officer Michael McCormick said: "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."
However, the GBTA expects business travel spend in the UK to be up 4% to $42.1bn (£27.1bn) in 2013, with spending on domestic travel rising 5% and spending on international travel up 2%.
By Linsey McNeill
Tuesday, June 12, 2012