The GBTA Foundation, the education and research arm of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), has announced the results of its latest GBTA BTI™ Outlook – Western Europe report, a semi-annual analysis of the five most critical business travel markets in Europe: Germany, the UK, France, Italy, and Spain. These five markets serve as a good barometer of the health of the entire European business travel market. The report, sponsored by Visa Inc., includes the GBTA BTI™, a proprietary index of business travel spending that distills market performance over a period of time.

“Business travel in Western Europe is finally standing on solid ground,” said Catherine McGavock, Regional Director for Europe for GBTA. “Companies however are still showing a penchant toward saving for the future in case the economy backslides – that pessimism is slowly starting to abate, but optimism has not fully set in. Still, the stronger economy, lower energy prices and smart fiscal policies are pointing to a strong 2015 and 2016 for business travel throughout the region.”

Key highlights of the report include:

  • Business travel spending in the five markets registered an estimated gain of 4.9 percent in 2014 to €146.1B ($186.3 billion USD). Spending is expected to increase by another 6 percent in 2015, to €154.79B ($197.47 billion USD) and 6.1 percent in 2016 reaching €164.15B ($209.41 billion USD), as economic momentum propels business travel spending forward.
  • Germany and the UK led the way in business travel spending, but Spain’s business travel market also saw a notably strong business travel performance in 2014.
  • The GBTA Foundation is seeing a shift toward domestic business travel demand driving growth more so than international outbound travel (IOB) as IOB spending will continue to remain challenged through 2015.
  • Despite six months of improving debt and fiscal balances, an even more aggressive monetary stance and lower energy prices, the European economy continues to inch along. Eurozone GDP rose 0.4 percent in 2015 Q1, which while weaker than expected did mark the fifth consecutive quarter of positive growth.
  • Much of the growth of the European economy is driven by consumption and capital spending.
  • Sharply lower energy prices are providing another boost for Europe’s consumers. Unlike a tax refund, this income boost will accumulate slowly with each successive utility bill or petro fill-up, so it will take time for the benefit of lower oil prices to be fully realized.

“This year’s global BTI™ reveals promising news for business travel spending in Western Europe,” said Brian Triplett, Senior Vice President and Head of Commercial Products at Visa, Inc. “With five markets alone averaging nearly a 5 percent gain in 2014 and domestic travel expected to grow, the region continues to show signs of recovery.”

Country-level business travel outlooks


  • Germany remains the brightest star in the European sky as strong economic growth and relatively competitive labour markets continue to propel business travel activity.

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