Business Travel Responsible for $40.1 Billion in Canadian GDP, Creates Over 573,000 Jobs

Canadian Business Travel Expenditures Reached $35.8 Billion in 2016

TORONTO (April 18, 2018) – A new report issued today at GBTA Conference 2018 – Toronto reveals the high potential of business travel to drive economic development and business success. The report, produced by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), in partnership with BCD Travel and Air Canada, also reveals the risk to the nation’s economy from a downturn in travel.

The study, titled ‘The Canadian Business Travel Industry: Business Travel’s Impact on Jobs and the Canadian Economy,’ shows that business travel was responsible for about 2.6 percent ($40.1 billion) of Canadian GDP in 2016.

The economic impact study found that Canadian business travellers took a total of 35.1 million trips, up 5.7 percent from the previous year, and spent $29.4 billion on travel goods and services in Canada, up 7.3 percent. Total expenditures to support Canadian business travel reached $35.8 billion when factoring in the $6.4 billion spent on meetings operations.

The business travel industry supports 573,000 jobs and generated $10.7 billion in federal, provincial and local taxes. Much of business travel’s contribution to the economy accrues directly to industries that serve business travellers, but their supply chain beneficiaries received an additional indirect contribution of $10 billion.

“Business travel is the fuel that powers the engine of many corporations around the Canadian marketplace and is a critical driver of the economy,” said Michael W. McCormick, GBTA Executive Director and COO. “This study clearly demonstrates the importance both face-to-face interactions and enacting pro-travel polices can have on an economy’s bottom line.”

“We already knew from previous studies—and intuitively—that business travel was critical to the economic and business success; after all, how many companies can grow their business without expanding into new markets through travel?” said Kathy Bedell, BCD Travel SVP and Canada General Manager. “Sometimes it’s important to establish key drivers using data so that everyone interested in economic development and business success understands its potential to provide a return on investment.”

“Air linkages are a crucial driver of economic activity, allowing the movement of people and goods. At Air Canada we are intensely focused on expanding our network, especially internationally, and improving connectivity at our major hubs to facilitate traffic flows. This report underscores that we all benefit from an air transport system that is efficient and cost competitive in terms of taxes and fees for the airlines that operate this vital service,” said Duncan Bureau, Vice President, Global Sales, at Air Canada.

Breaking Down the Business Trip
In 2016, the average amount spent per business trip reached $838, including $342 on transportation, $215 on lodging and accommodations, $159 on food and beverages, $105 on retail purchases and $17 on recreation. These averages include both domestic and international inbound trips, as well as both day and overnight trips. Group business travellers on average spent $1,191 per trip, compared with $628 per trip spent by their transient counterparts. Group business travel was a key driver in the overall growth in Canadian business travel activity in 2016 with gains of 14 percent in total spending over 2015 levels.

Over three-quarters (77 percent) of Canadian business trips were taken for transient purposes (sales trips, client services, government and military travel and travel for construction or repair), while 23 percent were taken for group travel purposes. On average, business trips lasted only 2 days in 2016 and over two-thirds of domestic business trips were day trips while only 4 percent included a stay greater than 5 nights.

The full study also examines the most popular mode of transportation among Canadian business travellers, the most popular business destinations for domestic and international inbound trips and the demographics of Canadian business travellers.

More Information
The report, The Canadian Business Travel Industry: Business Travel’s Impact on Jobs and the Canadian Economy, is available exclusively to GBTA members by clicking here and non-members may purchase the report through GBTA by emailing [email protected].

Those interested in learning more details about the impact of business travel may join a presentation about the new findings during GBTA Conference 2018 – Toronto, on Centre Stage on Wednesday, April 18. They may also join an education session shortly after focused on how business travel impacts the Canadian economy featuring study highlights. The session will take place at 11:30am EDT in Room 801A.

Experts from GBTA, BCD Travel and Air Canada will also be featured on an upcoming episode of The Business of Travel, GBTA’s official podcast on June 27, 2018.

The economic impacts described in this study are based on domestic traveller spending as measured by StatsCan’s Travel Survey of Residents of Canada (TSR), international spending from StatsCan’s International Travel Survey (ITS), and meeting spending derived from The Economic Contribution of Meeting Activities in Canada. All figures are reported in Canadian Dollars ($ CAD) unless otherwise specified. The most recent full year data (2016) for all inputs was analyzed and compared to other economic data for the same period. This data is fully consistent with the travel spending estimates released annually in the GBTA BTI™ Global Outlook. ​

About BCD Travel
BCD Travel helps companies make the most of what they spend on travel. For travellers, this means keeping them safe and productive, and equipping them to make good choices on the road. For travel and procurement managers, it means advising them on how to grow the value of their travel program. In short, we help our clients travel smart and achieve more. We make this happen in 109 countries with almost 13,500 creative, committed and experienced people. And it’s how we maintain the industry’s most consistent client retention rate (95% over the past 10 years), with 2017 sales of US$25.7 billion. For more information, visit www.bcdtravel.com.

About Air Canada
Air Canada is Canada’s largest domestic and international airline serving more than 200 airports on six continents. Canada’s flag carrier is among the 20 largest airlines in the world and in 2017 served close to 48 million customers. Air Canada provides scheduled passenger service directly to 64 airports in Canada, 60 in the United States and 98 in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Australia, the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America and South America. Air Canada is a founding member of Star Alliance, the world’s most comprehensive air transportation network serving 1,300 airports in 191 countries. Air Canada is the only international network carrier in North America to receive a Four-Star ranking according to independent U.K. research firm Skytrax, which also named Air Canada the 2017 Best Airline in North America. For more information, please visit: www.aircanada.com/media, follow @AirCanada on Twitter and join Air Canada on Facebook

About the Global Business Travel Association
The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) is the world’s premier business travel and meetings trade organization headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area with operations on six continents. GBTA’s 9,000-plus members manage more than $345 billion of global business travel and meetings expenditures annually. GBTA delivers world-class education, events, research, advocacy and media to a growing global network of more than 28,000 travel professionals and 125,000 active contacts. To learn how business travel drives lasting business growth, visit www.gbta.org.

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