Spending on business travel is expected to surge in 2014, a sign of continuing confidence in the U.S. economy. But the rosy business outlook could be marred by further feuding in Washington that leads to another government shutdown.
The message of caution came from a survey released last week by the Global Business Travel Association., the trade group in Virginia for corporate travel managers.
Based on business indicators, the group predicted $288.8 billion in spending in the U.S., which would be a 7.2 percent jump over 2013. It represents 459 million trips for the year, which would be a 1.6 percent increase from 2013.
During the depths of the recession, that number dropped to 434 million person-trips in 2009. The industry still has a long way to go to come near the high of 576 million business trips in 2000.
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The study results were released a few days before Congress and the White House reached an agreement to settle a 16-day partial shutdown. But the budget deal is temporary, raising the chance of another deadlock in January or February that the business travel group fears could slow the nation’s economic momentum.
“Another self-destructive U.S. government shutdown will absolutely have negative consequences for business travel and the economy as it would only further damage our country’s reputation as a place to do business,” said Michael McCormick, the travel group’s executive director and operations chief. “It is critical to this country’s future position as a leader in the global economy that our elected officials work to keep the U.S. open for business.”