Corporate travel leaders expect the leisure sector to lead the industry’s restart with business travel not expected to pick up until September at the earliest.
Clive Wratten, chief executive of the Business Travel Association, said: “You’re probably looking towards September and the autumn for a pick up of any scale in business travel.”
He told the Travel Weekly Future of Travel Spring Forum: “There is pent up demand, but we need a successful leisure season this summer to give people confidence in a return of business travel. That would also allow corporates to get back into offices in whatever format that takes and then start looking outward.”
But Wratten warned: “By the time we get to September, our members will have gone 18 months pretty much without trading. Leisure travel had a little spike last summer to get some cash in. The corporate business has not had that.”
He added: “In many ways, the hardest time is when you start trading again and bringing people back and costs start coming back into the business.
“It remains a serious situation and the only thing that is going to save us is lifting the travel restrictions and getting us moving again.”