The recovery of global business-travel spending to the pre-pandemic level of $1.4 trillion has been pushed out 18 months to mid-2026 by inflation, economic slowing and high energy prices, the Global Business Travel Association is forecasting. 

The return to the 2019 level also is being slowed by supply-chain disruptions, labor shortages, lockdowns in China and the effects of the war in Ukraine on nearby regions, according to the group’s 2022 Business Travel Index Outlook. The report, released Monday at the association’s annual convention, reviews business-travel spending in 73 countries and 44 industries. 

“The factors impacting many industries around the world are also anticipated to impact global business-travel recovery into 2025,” said Suzanne Neufang, the organization’s chief executive officer. “The forecasted result is we’ll get close, but we won’t reach and exceed” the pre-pandemic spending until 2026.   

Global business travel is expected to total $933 billion this year, 65% of the 2019 level. It should grow to $1.16 trillion in 2023, expand to nearly $1.4 trillion in 2025 and hit $1.47 trillion in 2026. 

North America and Western Europe are expected to have the sharpest recoveries, growing to $363.7 billion and $323.9 billion, respectively, by 2026, the study showed.