Business travel shows no signs of slowing


Despite the endless queues, airport chaos, security scares, lost luggage and environmental concerns, there appears to be no sign of any decline in business travellers' appetite for punishment.

In fact according to the 11th annual Barclaycard Business Travel Survey, far from seeing a slow-down, almost half (44 per cent) of business people in the UK travelled more in 2006 than they did in 2005.

One in five travelled more than 500 miles per week, with 16 per cent travelling up to a 1000 miles. Nearly three-quarters said that their majority of their business travel was within the UK.

The new research, which questioned more than 4,000 business travellers found that despite advances in technology and the ever-increasing hassle-factor of travel, the overwhelming majority are wedded to the idea that travel is an essential part of their business.

Almost eight out of 10 believed that their business had benefited from business travel with only three per cent stating that they could have achieved the same success for their company without travelling.

But far many business people want to undergo the rigmarole of travel is a moot point. Separate research by Barclaycard in 2004 found that more than six out of ten business travellers felt that their travel commitments had affected their relationship with their partner, while four out of ten complained that travel undermined their social life.

Meanwhile, of the 44 per cent of business travellers who travelled more during 2006, almost half (47 per cent) cited business expansion either in the UK or abroad as the reason, suggesting that the economy has continued to grow over the last 12 months. Despite the expansion of the EU, such as the new accession states in Eastern Europe, and the rise of the Asian economies, business travel to these areas remained relatively low. Travel to the US and Canada fell marginally.

Only one in 10 travellers said that they had travelled to Eastern Europe the most, while six per cent had travelled to China the most and three per cent had travelled to India, both down on last year.

The Middle East and Africa have seen an increase in business traffic, with an increase of four per cent to the Middle East and an increase of two per cent to Africa.