x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Fears of second recession hitting UAE business travel

Fears of another downturn are preventing a faster recovery in the business travel sector, which was battered by the global economic downturn, members of the industry say.

The business travel industry is continuing to suffer from the effects of the global economic downturn as its customers continue to keep a close eye on expenses amid concerns of another recession.

At the Business Travel Show in Dubai, Chris Crowley, the president of the Association of Corporate Travel Executives said: "There are still concerns that we will be facing another recession."

The two-day event returned to the emirate this week after last year's show was cancelled as companies imposed travel bans and cut their budgets.

Mr Crowley added: "The overall trend is encouraging without being exciting."

The consensus was that business travel was up on its lows, but had yet to return to its peaks.

Hamida Lalani, the office manager for Azura, a company which specialises in selling watches, based in Dubai, said that her travel budget at been cut substantially.

"We need to cut costs wherever we can," she said. "You feel that there might be another downturn."

The business travel segment is particularly important for tourism industries, with business travellers spending much more than leisure travellers.

"Slowly, slowly, it's coming back," said Carol Maddison, the UAE manager at VisitBritain, explaining that business travel had yet to return to pre-recession levels.