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Accelerated return of business travel triggered as borders reopening

The reopening of international borders from pandemic shutdown is expected to accelerate a return of business travel.

Half of industry respondents polled by the Global Business Travel Association reported more optimism compared with a month ago.

October also saw an increase to 66% of those who said their companies are allowing non-essential domestic business travel.

And 42% are now also allowing international travel, while more than half of suppliers (55%) say their bookings from corporate customers increased from last month.

Three in four (74%) indicated support for the opening of US borders due on November 8 with the required protocols, with seven in ten expecting an increase in international business travel over the next six months as a result.

GBTA members agree that reduced infection rates and increased vaccinations will accelerate business travel at their company, with 59% indicating increased vaccination rates around the world would be a top driver.

More than half of suppliers (55%) say their bookings from corporate customers increased from last month while only 19% saw their bookings decreased.

Last month, fewer than half of travel suppliers (32%) said their bookings from corporate customers increased in the past month and a larger number (38%) said their bookings decreased.

GBTA chief executive Suzanne Neufang said: “There’s still a road ahead for recovery but we’re delighted to see the opening up of borders and a return to non-essential business travel.

“While we have seen ever-increasing domestic and short-haul travel, a more accelerated recovery has been hindered by the lack of international transatlantic travel.

“The opening of the much-anticipated Europe and UK to US travel corridors, as well as the opening of land borders to Canada and Mexico, will give a much-needed boost to the business travel ecosystem and global economy.

“Safety and duty of care continue to be of upmost importance to our members, who overwhelmingly support vaccine programs as well as smart travel policies to ensure a safe return to business travel, meetings and events.”

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