by Michael J. Shapiro | April 10, 2013

 Meetings spend in the U.S. could increase by 6 percent in 2013, according to the Global Business Travel Association's latest forecast, to $115.9 billion. That's up from the 5.2 percent increase the association projected in the fourth quarter of 2012. In GBTA's BTI Outlook – United States Q1, the organization cites stronger corporate profits, increasing job development and improvements in key export markets for boosting business-travel spending  that had been slowed by the fiscal-cliff debate. The nation's business-travel spend is expected to increase by 5.1 percent overall this year, to $268.5 billion; that's up from the association's previous projection of 4.6 percent. "Business confidence is up, and the need to compete in the global economy is driving companies to invest in business travel," noted GBTA executive director and COO Michael W. McCormick. "While there are still many factors that could hamper the economy again, from the impact of sequestration to rising energy prices, business-travel spending is heading in the right direction so far in 2013."