Corporate and international travel to rebound strong in 2022: BofA


Business and international travel should recover by next year, and optimism rose this summer among business travelers, a new Bank of America (BAC) report found.

The report is the fifth Bank of America survey regarding global travel since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the report, 46% of U.S. respondents expect to take their next business trip in 2022 or later, compared to 40% of respondents in the prior survey, and “56% [of respondents] now expect to travel more vs 50% previously,” the report found.

Countries across the world have begun to loosen their travel restrictions this summer. Last Monday, Canada announced that they would be nixing the mandatory quarantine requirements for Canadians or permanent legal residents who are fully vaccinated. Earlier this week, Germany became one of the most recent countries to reopen the borders for U.S. and UK leisure travelers.

Globally, survey findings support a strong rebound to business travel in 2022. “Two-thirds of Chinese & Japanese respondents expect their 2021 travel to be at or above pre COVID levels,” the Bank of America analysts found. In Europe, almost half (47%) of respondents “expect travel to increase relative to pre-pandemic with travel a top priority for 27%.” 

Millennial and GenY Smile thai asian passenger selk check in before entry the airport suwannabhumi

Millennial and GenY Smile thai asian passenger selk check in before entry the airport suwannabhumi

Domestically, US travelers’ spirits are high. “In the US, the corporate and international recovery will likely step up in 2022,” the report said. “The tone around business travel volumes continues to be optimistic,” analysts noted in the report.

Europe has been and remains the top destination for international travel once borders reopen, according to the report. At least a quarter of respondents from each country surveyed (U.S.,China, Germany, UK, France, and Japan) designated Europe as their first international travel destination, the highest of any region.

The analysts also studied consumer price sensitivity. “Globally, 62% of respondents said they would only be willing to pay the same or less than they did pre-COVID for a plane ticket,” the report said. The greatest price sensitivity was found in the U.K. and France with 73% and 70% of respondents, respectively, reporting that they would buy tickets at only the same or lower prices.

However, even with significant strides being made on a global travel, some studies suggest that not all travel activity lost during the pandemic will return. A global management consulting firm L.E.K. found that up to 25% of trips usually requiring international travel will be replaced with virtual meetings once pandemic restrictions are lifted. This fact, coupled with the increasingly large proportion of workers electing to work remotely, could lead to lower baseline travel levels in the future.

Ihsaan Fanusie is a writer at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @IFanusie.

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