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by Allen J. Sheinman | April 11, 2012

 International business travel is expected to grow by just 3 percent in 2012, a drop from 8.5 percent in 2011, according to the latest Business Travel Quarterly Outlook report for the U.S. released yesterday by the Global Business Travel Association. According to the report, continuing economic uncertainty in Europe and slowing economic growth in Asia indicates that companies are rethinking where they send travelers. The outlook also found that 2011 closed a strong year for total U.S. business travel spend with a 7.6 percent year-over-year increase, reaching more than $250 billion; the rate is expected to slow to an estimated 4.5 percent for first-quarter 2012. Despite the declining percentages, the GBTA still expects that business travel will reach its pre-recession levels by the middle of 2012. "We can start to breathe a sigh of relief," said GBTA executive director and COO Michael W. McCormick in a statement accompanying the report. "Things still look much better than they did 12 months ago."