Business travel air transactions were up for the fourth quarter in a row in the first three months of the year, representing a rise of 4% year on year, according to the Guild of Travel Management Companies.

However, with the economy growing at its fastest rate since 2007, the UK’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is increasing at a slightly greater rate than air volumes, suggesting that purchasing managers are cautiously increasing their travel spend.

Hotel sales were up by 12% over last year, rail by 10% and car hire by 17%, the Guild’s first quarter transaction survey revealed.

Other services, such as consultancy services, ferries, visas, currency exchange and meet and greet, grew more strongly than any other category between January and March, with a 78% leap over the same period in 2013.

Chief executive Paul Wait said: “The results from the GTMC’s first quarter transaction survey of 2014 are very positive, proving yet again that business travel continues to go from strength to strength, with a significant and surprising increase in business travel add-ons.

“Business air transactions also continue to rise as business confidence increases and the Chancellor’s recent about-turn on APD is part of that.

“Increased business travel is good news for UK plc, and I’m optimistic that the pace of growth will continue to increase. It’s an exciting time for our sector and a good opportunity for TMCs to continue to demonstrate their worth.”