Business Travel Responsible for $547 Billion in U.S. GDP in 2016, Creates Over 7.4 Million Jobs

U.S. Business Travel Spending Reached $424 Billion in 2016

BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#GBTA2017–A new report issued today at GBTA Convention 2017 by the GBTA
Foundation, the education and research arm of the Global Business Travel
Association, in partnership with American Express Global Business Travel
(GBT), highlights the positive economic impact business travel has on
the nation’s economy. The study, titled ‘The U.S. Business Travel
Economic Impact Report,’ reveals business travel was responsible for
about 3 percent ($547 billion) of U.S. GDP in 2016. Additionally, the
research found that for every 1 percent change in business travel
spending, the U.S. economy gains or loses 74,000 jobs, $5.5 billion in
GDP, $3.3 billion in wages and $1.3 billion in taxes.

The economic impact study found that in 2016, the nation’s businesses
spent $424 billion to send travelers out on the road for 514.4 million
domestic business trips. The business travel industry supports 7.4
million jobs and generated $135 billion in federal, state and local
taxes. Much of business travel’s contribution to the economy accrues
directly to industries that serve business travelers, but their supply
chain beneficiaries received an additional indirect contribution of $132

“Business travel matters – it is a critical driver of the economy,” said
Michael W. McCormick, GBTA Executive Director and COO. “In a time where
many policies have created uncertainty and disruption around travel,
this study shows the importance of enacting pro-travel polices to our
nation’s bottom line.”

“The way that people and companies conduct business has undergone
transformative, digitally-led changes in the past 20 years. Yet, the
U.S. Business Travel Economic Impact Report shows that face to face
interaction enabled by business travel remains a critical business
tool,” said David Reimer, Senior Vice President and General Manager,
North America, American Express Global Business Travel. “Today’s modern
business travelers want access to all content, to the best personalized
rates and fares, and via consumerized channels. To sustain business
travel’s economic impact, our industry must continue to evolve to meet
the needs of these travelers.”

Breaking Down the Business Trip

In 2016, the average amount spent per business fell 2.2 percent to $520,
including $163 on lodging, $180 on transportation, $94 on food and
beverages in restaurants, $33 on entertainment and $50 on shopping and
merchandise. These averages include both domestic and international
inbound trips, as well as both day and overnight trips.

Roughly half (48 percent) of U.S. business trips were taken for
transient purposes (sales trips, client services, government and
military travel and travel for construction or repair), while 28 percent
were taken for group travel purposes. The remaining 25 percent of trips
were taken for a combination of business and leisure. Three-quarters of
the business trips taken in the United States in the last year included
an overnight stay. Nearly 40 percent of business trips included a 1-2
night stay, 22 percent included a 3-4 night stay and 14 percent included
stays of 5+ nights.

A personal car or truck (35 percent) was the most popular mode of
transportation among U.S. business travelers in 2016, followed by
airplane (28 percent) and rental cars (13 percent). The largest share of
business travel stays was in traditional hotels (42 percent) with 18
percent staying in other accommodations, including sharing economy
properties, their own second home or B&Bs.

Popular Business Destinations

Domestic business travel accounted for approximately 94 percent of total
trip-oriented business travel spending in the United States in 2016. Not
surprisingly the majority of business trips were taken to destinations
with higher population densities
and states with large business
centers. This includes states in the Pacific region, those in the
Northwest and Southeast as well as Central and Mountain states like
Illinois, Michigan, Texas and Colorado.

Defining The Modern Business Traveler

U.S. business travelers have an average household income of just over
$82,000 and more than 60 percent are men. Just over one-third of U.S.
business travelers have obtained a bachelor’s degree, while just less
than one-third have a graduate or professional degree. They are well
distributed across age cohorts – roughly half are under the age of 45
with the other half over the age of 45, and nearly 60 percent are

More Information

The report, The U.S. Business Travel Industry: Business Travel’s
Impact on Jobs and the U.S. Economy in 2016,
is available
exclusively to GBTA members by clicking
 and non-members may purchase the report through the GBTA
Foundation by emailing
to view a free preview of the research.

During GBTA Convention 2017, the GBTA Foundation will host
an education session inspired by the research
sponsored by American Express Global Business Travel, focused on how
business travel impacts the U.S. economy featuring study highlights. The
session will take place on Tuesday, July 18 at 9:30am EST.

Methodology: The economic impacts described in this study are
based on domestic traveler spending as measured by (1) Longwoods
International, the GBTA Foundation and Rockport Analytics; (2)
international spending from National Travel & Tourism Office (NTTO); and
(3) meeting spending derived from The Economic Significance of
Meetings to the U.S. Economy.
The most recent full year (2016) for
all data inputs was analyzed and compared to other economic data from
the same period. The IMPLAN model, a non-proprietary economic model that
has fast become the defacto industry standard for most economic impact
assessments was chosen by the authors as a model of the United States
was critical to estimating how traveler spending resounds through the
U.S. economy.

About American Express Global Business Travel

American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) equips companies of all
sizes with the insights, tools, services and expertise they need to keep
their travelers informed, focused and productive while on the road. With
approximately 12,000 employees and operations in nearly 120 countries
worldwide, GBT empowers customers to take control of their travel
programs, optimizing the return on their travel and meetings
investments, while, more importantly, providing extraordinary traveler

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American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) is a joint venture that is
not wholly owned by American Express Company or any of its subsidiaries
(American Express). “American Express Global Business Travel,” “American
Express,” and the American Express logo are trademarks of American
Express and are used under limited license.

About the GBTA Foundation

The GBTA Foundation is the education and research foundation of the
Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), the world’s premier business
travel and meetings trade organization headquartered in the Washington,
D.C. area with operations on six continents. Collectively, GBTA’s
9,000-plus members manage more than $345 billion of global business
travel and meetings expenditures annually. GBTA provides its growing
network of more than 28,000 travel professionals and 125,000 active
contacts with world-class education, events, research, advocacy and
media. The Foundation was established in 1997 to support GBTA’s members
and the industry as a whole. As the leading education and research
foundation in the business travel industry, the GBTA Foundation seeks to
fund initiatives to advance the business travel profession. The GBTA
Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. For more information,
see and


Global Business Travel Association (GBTA)
Colleen Lerro
Gallagher, +1 703-236-1133