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OUTLOOK


EYES WIDE OPEN


What does the year ahead hold for buyers? Despite uncertainty, BBT’s experts have a few pointers to upcoming developments


buyingbusinesstravel.com


WORDS MARK FRARY


B


REXIT MAY OR MAY NOT have happened between writing this article and the publication of this issue but either way, as we enter 2020, challenges surround- ing exchange rates, borders and visas will escalate. It’s not all bad news, however. In terms of the bigger picture, the Inter- national Monetary Fund forecast global


GDP growth of 3.5 per cent for 2020, up from 3.2 per cent in 2019. But, as a caveat, the IMF said any growth will be “precarious, presuming stabilisation in currently stressed emerging market and developing economies, and progress toward resolving trade policy differences”. The corporate travel sector is no stranger to uncertainty, but here our industry experts attempt to set the scene for those areas that, theoretically, remain in their remit.


FARES AND RATES Prices, like helium balloons, always seem to go up no matter what is happening in the world, although things are moving only slowly north in the UK and Europe. BCD Travel’s 2020 Industry Forecast reports that demand for air travel is still growing and fares will rise in most markets in 2020. Intercontinental fares from Europe are predicted to rise by 1 per cent. Hotel rates in key cities will only experience modest increases, according to American Express GBT’s Hotel Monitor 2020. In Europe, “low growth, and uncertainties about Brexit and the general global economic outlook take their toll on demand” while hotel development in Europe is at a record high. American Express Meetings & Events predicts meeting


spend in Europe will increase by 2.1 per cent in 2020. The number of events is also expected to increase by 1-2 per cent, with client/customer advisory board meet- ings expected to grow most of all (1.8 per cent). Car rental rates are expected to rise by 1 per cent


globally, predicts the 2020 Global Travel Forecast from CWT and the GBTA.


2019 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 69


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