Washington : Demand for business travel started to rebound last year, and is expected to grow over the next 12 months, with some notable gains expected in Europe and Asia. China and India's high-powered econo-mies once again lead the way.
American Express expressed this optimism in their Global Business Travel Forecast 2018.
Prices will see only marginal gains, as suppliers rapidly increase capacity to meet demand as they compete for market share.
Despite the recent economic progress made in many global marketplaces, an element of caution remains in some quarters, it said.
Geopolitical instability combined with moves by some governments towards more protectionist economic policies has generated an undercurrent of uncertainty in the business community.
Strong growing economies across much of the Asia-Pacific region and a burgeoning middle-class are causing demand for travel to surge. However, China remains a key driver of this growth and a slowdown of its economy could have a ripple effect throughout the region.
In Europe, the UK's decision to withdraw from the European Union (EU)_ known colloquially as Brexit_ could impact travel throughout the region as carriers' operations and passenger demand potentially shift.
British carriers will see airfares remain flat, while air and rail suppliers servicing the region will look to the state of Brexit negotiations to determine how their operations could be affected as border control and air traffic rights are redefined ahead of the 2019 deadline.
It said, notable increases in hotel rates are expected, except for the UK and Spain, with hotels across the region seeing growth in demand driven by tourism, which has outpaced limited increases in new supply.
Ground transportation has benefited from increased demand as well with rental car demand expected to grow slightly. However, aggressive competition between rental car suppliers, as well as millennial shifts towards ridesharing and public transportation, will keep prices relatively flat.