News Release

 Falling Over Fiscal Cliff Could Slash $20 Billion in U.S. Business Travel Spending 

But Failure to Address Deficit Spending Will Have a Negative Long Term Impact


Alexandria, VA (November 15, 2012) – If the U.S. economy falls over the “fiscal cliff,” it would have an immediate and severe impact on U.S. business travel, according to new research from GBTA Foundation. The new report analyzes the business travel impact of expiring tax cuts and automatic spending reductions – commonly referred to as the “fiscal cliff” – as well as the longer-term ramifications of leaving current levels of deficit spending unaddressed.


The report models the potential business travel impact of two scenarios – one in which the fiscal cliff takes effect, and one where no changes are made to current tax and spending provisions.


  • Fiscal Cliff Scenario: If the fiscal cliff occurs, the U.S. economy would enter a recession. This would lead to a total loss of $20 billion in spending on U.S. business travel over the next nine quarters – a 2.5% decline – and a reduction of 32 million business trips.

However, the elimination of tax cuts and reductions in federal spending would lead to reduced deficits and lower interest rates over the long run, resulting in business travel spending and an overall economy that grows more quickly after absorbing the shock of the fiscal cliff.


  • No Fiscal Restraint Scenario: If all provisions of the fiscal cliff are eliminated or delayed indefinitely, business travel would experience more robust trip volume and spending as a result of stimulus from lower tax rates and continued government spending. In the near term, this scenario would lead to a cumulative loss of only 300,000 business trips and a gain of $5.5 billion in total business travel spending over the next nine quarters.

However, by 2014, much of the spending growth would be attributed to higher inflation. Larger budget deficits and growing debt will begin to take a toll, and business travel spending growth would continue to slow beyond the forecast horizon. 


“Given business travel’s indispensable role in spurring economic growth, these findings dramatically illustrate the potential impact of the fiscal cliff on the overall economy,” said Joseph Bates, vice president of research at the GBTA Foundation. “Falling over the cliff would set back the clock substantially for business travel and every other sector of the economy in the near term.


 “This research shows that we must seriously consider both the near-term ramifications of the fiscal cliff and the long-term implications of expanding government debt,” said Michael W. McCormick, GBTA executive director and COO. “Either way, the fiscal cliff is a wake-up call for leaders looking to craft smart economic policy going forward.”


The research, GBTA BTI™ Outlook – United States Special Report: Fiscal Cliff Scenario, was conducted through an analysis and econometric model used in the quarterly GBTA BTI™ Outlook – United States report and altered to reflect predictions in business travel spending and volume according to each of these potential outcomes.  The full report is available exclusively to GBTA members by clicking here and non-members may purchase the report through the GBTA Foundation by emailing pyachnes@gbtafoundation.org.


CONTACT:                  Meghan Henning, 703-236-1133, mhenning@gbta.org  
                                      Rebecca Carriero, 212-446-1897, rcarriero@sloanepr.com

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 8,000-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 gbta.org and gbta.org/foundation.