U.S. Travel: Business Travel Incurs Hundreds of Billions Loss Due to Raging Pandemic
Sep 29 / admin@aplbc
According to a recent US Travel Association and Tourism Economics forecast, the business travel and group meeting sector of the US economy lost $211 billion in annual revenue in 2020 as a result of the virus and will lose much more in the future years.
“We will have lost $522 billion in spending before we get whole” in 2024, said Tourism Economics President Adam Sacks at a U.S. Travel Association news conference Wednesday. He went on to say that foreign business travel losses will add $77 billion to the total.
According to U.S. Travel, the transient travel and group sector of the economy earned $270 billion in direct travel spending in 2019, sustaining 4 million U.S. jobs.
Delta Variant: The Bane to the Business Travel!
Earlier, there were encouraging signs of progress toward recovery during the Covid-19 vaccination rollouts this spring and summer, Sacks noticed that the desire to come back to business travel has waned in recent weeks. According to Global Business Travel Association polls, around 65 per cent of U.S. businesses engage in local business trips.
In July, 68 per cent intended to resume travel within one to three months, but by August, that figure had dropped to 35 per cent as Covid-19 cases began to rise again due to the emergence of the highly contagious Delta Variant.
Business Travel: A Boost to the Economy!
According to Sacks, part of the US Travel Association’s appeal for the restoration of business travel, meetings, and events was to show that they could and have been resumed safely, and it could be critical to the revival of the US economy.
Restarting business travel and meetings “will greatly accelerate America’s economic recovery and get businesses moving forward again in a profitable way,” said U.S. Travel President and CEO Roger Dow, criticising what he called a media focus on event cancellations even though in-person meetings can now actually occur securely. “Every piece of evidence from the scientific and academic community tells us that, with the right practises in place, the travelling workforce and professional event organisers can get back to the business of reconnecting with customers and colleagues.”
An Eye on the Stat!
Dow cited a Mayo Clinic study indicating that the chance of being infected with Covid-19 when boarding a flight from the United States to the United Kingdom in which passengers were tested for Covid-19 upfront is one in 10,000. The study also discovered that the probability of an infected passenger spreading the virus to another passenger on a Covid-tested plane from the United Kingdom to the United States was one in a million.
Dow further stated that “lockdowns and restrictions no longer continue to protect us from the virus.” “Vaccines, on the other hand, aren’t. We wholeheartedly support urging everyone eligible to receive the vaccination. It’s the quickest way for everyone to return to normality.”
The problem of the day!
Nonetheless, US Travel stated earlier this week that it does not favour obligatory vaccine mandates for domestic travel. Dow stated that such regulations are extremely difficult to implement, citing the difficulty in implementing the United States’ Real ID programme over the last 11 years.
“The second problem is that you have up to 65 per cent of the population immunised and 35 per cent to 40 per cent that may not be able to get vaccinated for whatever reason but are ready to take a Covid test and prove that when they come in the door, they are Covid-free,” he added.
Conclusion: Reviving the business travel!
“For foreign travel, we’re fine with people coming into the country to get vaccinated if that’s how we start,” Dow added. “The meetings and conventions industry has taken the protocols, we can know who is coming in the door, what their status is, and if we do not bring back these meetings, it is not just the hotels and convention centres that will suffer, but all of the things that happen with meetings, adult education, learning best practises, selling American products. And all of these things are vital to our economy and communities.”