Optimism over travel sector recovery clouded by ash

20 May 2010

20 May 2010 | Andrea Klettner

Business travel continues to show signs of recovery with transactions for the first quarter of 2010 on the up, a survey from the Guild of Travel Management Companies (GTMC) has found.

GTMC members account for 80 per cent of business travel spend in the UK. This research showed an increase in air, hotel, rail and – for the first time in more than four years – car hire transactions, compared with the same period in 2009.

Rail, the most stable sector throughout the recession, showed strong growth with a 13 per cent increase in transactions against the first quarter of 2009. Air travel was up 9 per cent, hotels 5 per cent and car hire 1 per cent.

GTMC chief executive Anne Godfrey said that although the results show a positive variance, it does not necessarily spell the end of the recession for the business travel sector.

“In normal circumstances these figures would be cause for cautious optimism. However, external forces are likely to play a large part in the next quarter’s business transactions. The volcanic ash crisis, which shut down UK air space, will undoubtedly negatively affect the second quarter’s air statistics.”

Godfrey said the second quarter of this year could be buoyant for rail travel and car rental because they played a pivotal role in the rescue of many people affected by the ash cloud.

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