By Brad Foster

Just released research by the Global Business Travel Association is predicting potential global losses from the coronavirus (COVID-19) of $820b including $120b in the Asia Pacific.

A snap survey of the 9000-strong GBTA membership around the world received responses from more than 1000 members with results showing three of every four companies had cancelled or suspended all or most business trips to Asia Pacific countries.

GBTA’s members manage more than $345 billion of global business travel and meetings expenditures annually.

The study found 51 per cent of cancellations and suspensions of business travel to regions other than Asia, and almost 18 per cent of companies had cancelled or suspended travel to North America.

In addition, almost half (47 per cent) of companies have cancelled or suspended business travel to the Middle East.

The study also found many companies have instituted blanket business travel cancellations or suspensions due to the coronavirus. More than 41 per cent of GBTA member companies report their company has cancelled or suspended all international travel, regardless of region.

GBTA member companies have cancelled, on average, 43 per cent of business trips (all global regions) previously booked for March 2020 due to the coronavirus.

GBTA member companies report they are cancelling or postponing scheduled meetings, events, and conferences as opposed to moving the event to a new venue. Nearly 73 per cent report their company has cancelled at least a “few” meetings, events, or conferences, with 30 per cent cancelling “many” such events.

GBTA members are also postponing meetings, events, and conferences due to the coronavirus, with 74 per cent reporting they have postponed at least a “few,” 26 per cent having postponed “many”, and 27 per cent having postponed “some.”

Fewer GBTA member companies (29 per cent) report they have moved meetings, events, and conferences.

COO and executive director of the Global Business Travel Association, Scott Solombrino, said coronavirus is significantly impacting the business travel industry’s bottom line.

“As the virus continues to spread across the world, business travel is slowing at an alarming rate. The impact to the business travel industry – and to the broader economy – cannot be underestimated,” he said.

“Traveller safety remains the industry’s primary concern, and we are continuing to monitor conditions and respond appropriately. We encourage our member companies to heed the advice from all global health officials such as the CDC and the WHO when thinking about their travel plans.

“I am confident in our efforts to ensure the health and safety of all travellers and know that we will emerge from this downturn with an even stronger industry.”