Corporate travel for meetings and events is expected to return in 2021, according to a poll of members by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA).

GBTA found almost half (45%) of member companies expect employees to resume travel for meetings and events in the first half of next year and an additional 25% expect a return in the second half of 2021.

Most companies do not expect to host meetings or events for the remainder of this year, but 37% expect to host ‘some’ meetings or events in the first quarter of 2021, rising to 61% by the second quarter.

One in four GBTA members polled said they remain unsure when meetings and events will resume.

Only one in five corporate travel respondents (20%) reported plans to return to their office by the end of this year and only 16% of companies had already returned.

One in three (35%) said they plan to return in the first half of next year and 28% in the first quarter. One in five (21%) remain undecided.

Half the respondents (52%) said an effective Covid-19 vaccine 19 would have most influence on their business planning. One in four (24%) said decreased Covid-transmission rates worldwide would have an impact.

Only 8% indicated increased coronavirus testing and rapid-results reporting would be decisive.

The poll found half (48%) of respondents said senior managers valued a managed travel programme “more” or “much more” now than before the pandemic.

GBTA interim executive director Dave Hilfman said: “The current uncertainty around a second wave is delaying the return to business travel, [but] the outlook for 2021 is looking more positive with companies planning a return to face-to-face meetings and events.”

The poll was conducted among 1,364 members worldwide on September 15-19.