Business travel spending in Germany, the UK, France, Spain and Italy combined will grow at over 6 percent in 2015 and 2016, according to the latest GBTA BTI Outlook – Western Europe report. Business travel spending in these five markets is projected to grow 6.4 percent in 2015 and another 6.3 percent in 2016, from $186.3 billion (€140.2 billion) in 2014 to $210.6 billion (€220.3 billion) in 2016.

Together these five countries comprise nearly 70 percent of Western Europe’s business travel market. Their combined performance is considered a leading indicator of the health of the European economy. The GBTA Foundation research sponsored by Visa, Inc., indicates the Europe is “gathering steam” and is poised for a moderate economic breakthrough.

“The study shows that the European economy is gathering steam and beginning to put its economic woes in the rear-view mirror,” said Catherine McGavock, GBTA’s regional vice president – EMEA. “Business travel is faring even stronger than the moderate economic breakthrough, with double digit spending growth in Germany as well as over 7 percent growth in both the U.K. and Spain this year. Still uncertainties in the global economy present risks to this business travel breakout, leading to a cautiously optimistic outlook for many companies.”

Germany, representing over 20 percent of Western Europe’s business travel activity, continues to be the strongest growth story on the Continent, with 10 percent business travel growth projected in 2015 and 9.5 percent in 2016. The United Kingdom is expected to grow at 7.4 percent in 2015 and 6.2 percent in 2016, while Spain’s turnaround story continues with business travel spending growing 7.7 percent in 2015 and 7.1 percent in 2016.

France and Italy, on the other hand, are the two most challenged markets with weaker economic growth reflected in slower business travel growth rates. France is expected grow at 3.1 percent in 2015 and 3.4 percent in 2016, while Italy is expected to post just 1.1 percent growth in 2015 and 1.9 percent in 2016.