Domestic Business Travel Will Reach 81% of Pre-Pandemic Levels in 2022, 96% in 2023, Says USTA
Organization says full recovery, adjusted for inflation, will not happen by end of forecast in 2026 >>
by: Harvey Chipkin
Domestic business travel volume will reach 81% of pre-pandemic levels in 2022 and 96% in 2023, according to the biannual forecast from the U.S. Travel Association, based on analysis from Tourism Economics. However, domestic business travel spending, when adjusted for inflation, will not fully recover to pre-pandemic levels within the range of the forecast, which runs through 2026. U.S. Travel is advocating for federal policies that would accelerate the business travel sector’s recovery. In a recent letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, U.S. Travel called for the agency’s support on a tax extenders package that includes a temporary restoration of the entertainment business expense deduction and an extension of full expensing for business meals. These policies are also key priorities for U.S. Travel’s Meetings Mean Business Coalition. U.S. Travel estimates that $1.05 trillion (in 2019 dollars, adjusted for inflation) will be spent on travel in the United States in 2022, but this is still 10% below 2019 levels and 16% below where it should have been in 2022 if not for the pandemic. International inbound travel is making strides toward recovery, aided by the recent repeal of the inbound pre-departure testing requirement. The sector is projected to grow rapidly through the rest of 2022, and then grow at a slower pace in 2023-2026. A full recovery to pre-pandemic levels (volume and spending) is not expected until 2025. However, policy changes can also help accelerate that timeline. If the U.S. reduces wait times for visitor visa interviews to less than 30 days, the US could gain an additional 2.2 million international visitors and $5.2 billion in spending by the end of the 2022.