Coronavirus to impact business travel


The global business travel sector is expected to take a revenue hit of $820 billion, with China accounting for nearly half the loss, as corporates curb travel plans in the face of the coronavirus epidemic, an industry body said.

Business travel to Asia is the worst hit, with three out of  four companies reporting cancelled or suspended business trips to China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and other Asia-Pacific countries, according to a survey by Global Business Travel Association (GBTA).

The industry group’s latest estimate is above the February forecast of a $560 billion hit.

The fast-spreading virus, which originated in the Chinese city Wuhan, killed more than 4 000 people, mostly in China and disrupted businesses globally.

“Coronavirus is significantly impacting the business travel industry’s bottom line,” GBTA Chief Operating Officer Scott Solombrino said in a statement.

“The impact on the business travel industry – and the broader economy – cannot be underestimated.”

China has seen a 95% drop in business travel since the outbreak and is expected to lose $404.1 billion in revenue from corporate travel, followed by $190.5 billion in loss for Europe.

Airline and hotel industries, typically the biggest beneficiaries of corporate spending, have taken a major hit to income as the virus continues to spread, the industry group said.