Corporate travel boosts trade and foreign investment in Britain by billions, according to research for the Guild of Travel Management Companies (GTMC).
A GTMC-commissioned study by Oxford Economics suggests a 1% increase in corporate travel would add £390 million a year to UK gross domestic product (GDP).
The research on the Value of International Business Travel, published yesterday, found a return of UK corporate travel to the level before the financial crisis of 2008 would increase the value of UK trade by £6.5 billion and foreign direct investment (FDI) into Britain by £1.6 billion.
Dr Nishal Gooroochurn, author of the report and head of econometrics at Oxford Economics, told the GTMC conference in Marco Island, Florida: "A 1% increase in business travel boosts total trade by 0.05% and foreign direct investment into Britain by 0.3%."
He suggested the average international business air trip contributes £34,000 to GDP, and said: "Our findings demonstrate the huge worth of business travel to the UK.”
GTMC chief executive Paul Wait said: "The magnitude of the impact of business travel on economic performance and foreign investment within the UK is staggering – the value of business travel cannot be underestimated.
"Factors heavily influencing business travel growth, such as airport expansion, need to be urgently addressed with these numbers in mind.”
Gooroochurn noted: “Business travel has not yet recovered to its pre-2008 levels and the Oxford Economics report defines the remarkable impact on the UK’s economy such a rebound would bring."
International business air travel to and from the UK increased 12% between 2010 and 2014 following a decline of 26% between 2006 and 2010.
Gooroochurn said: "If international business travel volumes continue on the upward trajectory since 2010, the return to the wider UK economy would be significant."
Wait added: "This research demonstrates that investment in business travel is an important route to growth and trade recovery.”
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