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by Michael J. Shapiro | October 12, 2011

 Group travel is expected to grow at a much slower rate next year, according to the third-quarter Business Travel Quarterly Outlook, released yesterday by the Global Business Travel Association. The 6.8 percent growth forecast for 2011 will likely slow to 3.5 percent growth in 2012, notes the outlook, due to uncertainty in the economy. Business travel in general likewise is expected to slow, albeit less dramatically: The report forecasts a 6.9 percent increase in business travel spending for 2011, hitting $250.2 billion, followed by more modest growth of 4.3 percent in 2012, for a spend of $260.9 billion. “Companies are still investing in travel because they have become smarter and more conscious about the level of business travel that is critical to driving growth,” said GBTA executive director and COO Michael McCormick.  “They recognize where they cut back too much during the recession and won’t make the same mistakes twice.”