Concerns are growing as business travel is still down from the pandemic, and the sector hasn’t nearly enjoyed the same return as leisure travel.
One reason, the U.S. Travel Association says, is that the government needs to address the delay in issuing visas that are limiting entry into the United States. The solution, the USTA says, is to have the government enact federal policies to offset the delays. The U.S. Travel Association is calling on Congress to support temporary tax provisions that would encourage companies to restore business travel spending, particularly with regard to spending that supports workers in the food service and entertainment sectors.
Further, the group wants the U.S. Department of State to take steps to greatly reduce wait times for interviews as part of the application process.
“Business travel is coming back slowly, and these policies will be essential to keeping employees on the road and helping still-recovering companies weather an oncoming recession,” U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Geoff Freeman said in a statement.
Business travel has been slower to catch up as many companies severely trimmed travel and utilized video conferencing and remote work. In fact, according to the website Scott’s Cheap Flights, overall passenger numbers are currently down just four percent from 2019 levels – but business travel is down 26 percent compared to pre-pandemic levels. And that’s a big deal for airlines, according to Scott’s Cheap Flights.
“These (business) travelers tend to be more loyal companies often have corporate contracts with certain airlines,” the website noted. “They tend to book with less notice, and, perhaps most importantly, they aren’t as price sensitive since they’re flying on the company dime.”