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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

Asia to lead with global business travel set to accelerate

'Travel outlook looks bright as growing business and consumer confidence translates into increased demand for travel,' says report

Cars on the promenade on day two of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Jason Alden/Bloomberg
Cars on the promenade on day two of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Jason Alden/Bloomberg

Global business travel is expected to thrive in 2018, according to a report by a travel management group, as an improving world economy buoys confidence in the private sector and investment community.

American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) is forecasting growth across the travel sector, including air and ground transportation and hotel stays, with higher fares and increased bookings supporting the industry's growth.

The travel company projected Asia will experience the most robust growth largely on the strength of economic progress in China and India.

"The travel outlook looks bright as economic conditions continue to strengthen and growing business and consumer confidence translates into increased demand for travel," GBT said in its report.

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Despite the generally optimistic outlook, increasingly protectionist policies across the globe and looming geopolitical instability continue to drag on the industry and stir uncertainty among stakeholders, according to the report.

GBT cited US foreign policy and trade deal renegotiations as a potential hindrance for international travel, in addition to some route overcapacity and rapid expansion by low-cost carriers into the market.

The US industry, however, has been preparing for a business travel boom in the wake of a US tax overhaul that sharply reduced corporate income taxes.

Other policies supported by the Trump administration, including a pledge to reduce US trade deficits and support initiatives that will put American corporations ahead of foreign competitors, have heartened businesses and investors and raised expectations for the near-term future of business travel.