Study: European Business Travel on the Rise

Business travel spend in Western Europe sees largest annual growth since global recession as it is set to grow 3.4% in 2014.

The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), the voice of the global business travel industry, announced the results of its latest GBTA BTI™ Outlook – Western Europe report, a semi-annual analysis of the five most critical business travel markets in Europe: Germany, the UK, France, Italy and Spain. These five markets together form the lion’s share of business travel in the region, nearly 70%, and act as a good barometer of the health of the entire European business travel market.

Key highlights of the report:

  • Business travel spending among the five markets is expected to hit $183 billion USD, (€144.7 billion) 3.3% growth over 2013. This projected gain would be the largest in Western Europe since the Great Recession.
  • Germany remains the largest business travel market in Europe reaching $50.5 billion USD in 2012. This is expected to increase 5% in 2013 to $53 billion USD.
  • The UK has the second highest level of spending on business travel in Western Europe – $40.6 billion USD in 2012 – expected to advance 1.6% in 2013 to $41.3 billion USD.
  • Spain, Italy and France will all see their business travel markets contract in 2013 by -6.7%, -3.9% and -2.3% respectively.
  • In 2013, domestic business travel will fare better than international outbound in all five markets except for the UK.

“After six consecutive quarters of decline, Europe has finally turned the corner. Challenges remain but we cannot ignore the economic progress that has been made and the impact that this will have on both domestic and international travel across Western Europe. Next year we can expect to see the largest annual growth in business travel spending in more than 6 years”, Catherine McGavock, Regional Director for Europe for GBTA.

“The upsurge in business travel spending, as noted by the BTI™, reinforces the fact that the Western Europe economy is stabilizing,” said Tad Fordyce, head of global commercial solutions at Visa Inc. “Although the recession took a toll on these markets, we are very optimistic this upward movement will continue the momentum into 2014.”

North South Divide Still Very Evident

European economic growth remains a two-speed story with the Northern markets showing positive growth that has not yet been enough to compensate for the still-negative performance of the Southern tier.

Last year proved to be a challenging one for the Western European economy and for business travel. Business travel policies were tightened and budgets were reduced or frozen. Total travel spend across all five key country markets combined to register a decline of 2.2% in 2012, to $177.4 billion USD. However, while Germany and the UK eked out small positive growth rates for the year, negative performance in Italy, Spain and France overwhelmed the slight growth in the North. The Southern countries are expected to continue to decline for the remainder of the year and into early 2014, but with Germany and the UK gathering momentum, the region will see a return to growth in 2014. The GBTA Foundation expects travel spending to be essentially flat in 2013 then rise by 3.4% the following year.

Eurozone Corporate Profits

Business travel is very closely tied to corporate profit performance, another indicator that is beginning to turn around in Europe.Corporate profits in Northern tier countries are beginning to show positive growth over year-ago levels.Theexpectation for the rest of 2013 and 2014 is for operating surpluses to stabilize and begin to improve, driven finally by some top-line revenue growth to combine with cost-cutting programs that have been in force since 2011. All of this bodes well for both domestic and international overseas business travel.

Country-Level Business Travel Outlooks


  • GBTA forecasts growth in total business travel spending to hit 5% in 2013. 2014 will be another strong period for German business travel, which will grow 6.1% to $56.3 billion USD.
  • Spending on domestic business travel is expected to end the year up 5.7% over 2012. Even more growth is in store in 2014 as domestic business travel spending is projected to surge 7.7% to $46.4 billion USD.
  • GBTA expects international outbound travel to increase 2% in 2013, but fall again slightly in 2014.

United Kingdom

  • GBTA expects total business travel spending to hit $41.3 billion USD in 2013, up 1.6% from 2012. Spending will continue to pick up pace in 2014, advancing 2.9%.
  • Domestic spending is projected to grow 0.8% and 4.0% in 2013 and 2014, respectively.
  • International outbound business travel is likely to outperform domestic spending in 2013 but that trend will reverse in 2014, mostly due to exchange rate effects. Total international outbound business travel spend is projected to grow 3.0% and 0.8% in 2013 and 2014, respectively.


  • GBTA forecasts total business travel spending to fall by -2.3% in 2013 to $34.9 billion USD. Business travel spending will see small gains in 2014, expanding by 2.7% to $35.8 billion USD.
  • Domestic business travel spending continues to stagnate in 2013 with annual growth of 0.3%. 2014 is expected to be a much better year for domestic business travel in France where spending is projected to grow to 4.6%.
  • International outbound spending will fare significantly worse with expected declines of -6.7%. Losses are expected to slow in 2014 with total international outbound spending falling -0.9%.


  • Spanish business travel spending is set to decrease in 2013 Q2 – its ninth straight quarter of decline, falling -6.7%. Quarterly growth will resume by the last quarter of the year and continue through 2014 with total business travel spending expected to grow by 1.6% in 2014 to $17 billion USD.
  • Both domestic and international outbound business travel will see significant declines in 2013, falling -5.8% and -9.9%, respectively. Domestic business travel will lead growth in 2014, rising 2.1% as international outbound travel falls another -0.6%.


  • GBTA expects a business travel spending loss in Italy amounting to -3.9% in 2013 with total spending gains for 2014 projected at 1.2%.
  • Spending on domestic business travel in Italy will fall -3.6% in 2013 before expanding 1.4% in 2014.
  • Spending on international outbound business travel will fall -7.2% in 2013 and another -0.3% in 2014.

Find the latest Tourism & Travel studies in TrendSpotting 2013

Spain: New Tourism Campaigns for Madrid & Valencia

Real Madrid’s players as Spanish Brand Ambassadors

Legendary football club Real Madrid had signed a deal to promote Spain and Madrid as tourist destinations in April.

The new marketing campaign “Visit Spain, Visit Madrid”  is now ready and shows all of Real Madrid’s star players, like Cristiano Ronaldo act as “brand ambassadors” for both the Spanish capital and the country as a whole.

Tourism authorities expect the three-year agreement will reach a potential audience of over 300 million people because of Real Madrid’s worldwide fan base.

Spanish Tourist Office spokeswoman had commented after the agreement was secured: “This is a groundbreaking agreement in which both Madrid and Spain will be promoted internationally through one of the most renowned clubs worldwide promoting both tourism brands to all corners of the globe.

“The agreement, valid for three years, will allow the public institutions to use the main players of the club as ‘Spain and Madrid brand ambassadors’ in various international advertising campaigns. The agreement also provides for the utilisation of advertising space in each of the official matches in the league and the Cup to be held in Santiago Bernabeu Stadium organised by Real Madrid.”


Valencia launches new global marketing campaign

The Valencia Region Tourist Board has launched a new five million euro (£4.4 million) global marketing campaign to promote the destination – including the Benidorm, Valencia Terra i Mar, Costa Blanca and Castellon brands – both nationally in Spain and internationally in key markets including the UK.

Using the strapline “Intense experiences must be shared”, the two-year multi-media campaign is centred around the traveller as generator of content and key influencer through the use of social media.  It combines innovative online, social media and street marketing with traditional media advertising and PR.

Regional Tourism Minister , Belen Juste, explains: “Travellers nowadays like sharing their holiday experiences with others on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Flickr; they read other people’s comments or travel blogs before planning their holiday; and use their mobiles to stay informed and connected before, during and after their trip.  Our new campaign reflects all this, building on some of the initiatives that we have already introduced, such as blogger fam trips, mobile apps and advergames.”

The campaign aims to promote the region’s diverse tourism offering which includes beaches, city breaks, interior tourism, major events, rich gastronomy, and plenty of opportunities to enjoy golf, hiking, diving and water sports.

The new global campaign kick-started this week in Spain with a major promotion at Madrid’s Atocha train station, departure point for the new AV E high-speed train to Valencia, and a series of TV and radio ads that invite consumers to live intense experiences in the Valencia Region.  This will also be the theme of a special roadshow which will visit 11 European cities including Liverpool and Birmingham.  Other activities planned include the creation of themed microsites on, YouTube branded channels, more advergames and new mobile phone applications to help visitors make the most of their trip to the Valencia Region.


Tourism Ambassadors: Show them what we’ve got!

Utilizing local people and their experiences,  as representatives of the tourism brand  is a method that several Tourism Boards have used in order to strengthen the “local knowledge-authenticity” factor and their brand proposition. In order to have positive results based on set targets there appears to be one essential condition: that the selected ambassadors are true  representatives of the brand essence.

Scottish ambassadors as the face of Scotland’s brand essence

2011 will see the continuation of International Marketing’s flagship ‘Scotland. Welcome to our Life’ Pan-European Touring Campaign, featuring a “Meet the Scots” theme – a group of people whose lives and work link to key Scottish tourism themes.

VisitScotland’s major European tourism campaign, Meet the Scots, has delivered almost £97million in additional tourism revenue for Scotland.

The Scots are the conduit for the campaign messages and represent the “Human” element of the brand essence “Dramatic, Human, Enduring”. They represent the warmth and passion of the Scottish people and offer insider knowledge to consumers.

Car touring remains the largest leisure tourism market to Scotland from Europe and the campaign promotes touring holidays with a particular focus on Seasonality – to attract visitors in the shoulder seasons, thus addressing one of the levers for growth, Capacity Utilisation.  Additionally the campaign aims to generate higher spend per trip and to contribute to VisitScotland’s geographic spread objective by encouraging visitors to explore more of Scotland.

Authenticity is an important driver in holiday choice for its target consumers, as is a desire to engage with the locals of the country they are visiting. The Scots are utilised in VisitScotland’s marketing activity to underline the authentic nature of a holiday in Scotland, whilst also pushing the scope for social engagement. Each Scot represents a particular theme and delivers information and tips associated with that theme. They are also featured on the campaign websites with information on who they are, what they do and they also provide consumers with personal tips and suggestions for things to do in every month of the year.


Jessica Watson promotes 2011 Queensland Season of Sailing campaign

The $100,000, 2011 Queensland Season of Sailing campaign will promote all the fantastic sailing events along Queensland’s stunning coastline between April 22 and September 6, with regattas in Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Central Queensland, the Whitsundays and Townsville.

Queensland is Australia’s premier sailing destination and this campaign encompasses a wide range of stay and sail experiences which are bound to make Sydneysiders and Melbournites want to leave the cold southern winter to live it up on the Queensland coast. The premise behind this year’s campaign is to encourage visitors to experience a sailing event and book a holiday package with their friends and family. It’s about promoting opportunities for visitors to experience Queensland’s sailing events first hand, enjoy all that the sailing destinations have to offer, take to the water and learn how to sail, have a bareboat adventure or enjoy a charter cruise.

Ms Jarratt, Minister for Tourism, Manufacturing and Small Business said Tourism Queensland was thrilled to have Queensland sailor and Young Australian of the Year Jessica Watson onboard again as the 2011 Queensland Season of Sailing ambassador. “Jessica is a genuine Queensland inspiration who has developed an international profile, which makes her the perfect fit for Queensland’s Season of Sailing campaign. She is also a proud Queenslander who has the ability to raise the profile of Queensland’s Season of Sailing even further in 2011.”

This initiative provides people with a unique incentive to visit Queensland’s regional holiday destinations during the traditionally slower winter months.Queensland’s 2011 Season of Sailing campaign will be promoted through print ads in newspapers and sailing magazines, online and via social media as well as at a grass roots level via Yachting Australia’s members.


Tourism Calgary turned to Calgarians to help advertise their city

Tourism Calgary is turning to Calgarians to help advertise their city with a fully integrated and user-generated regional marketing campaign that kicked off in March.

The “Capture Wow” campaign invites locals to upload descriptions and photos of their biggest “wow” experiences in Calgary at, said Gisele Danis, vice-president of Tourism Calgary. The best photographs will be used in an online and traditional advertising campaign called “Experience Wow” later this year in Alberta, Saskatchewan and B.C.

Danis said user-generated photography was a way to extend Tourism Calgary’s “small” marketing budget. “We can’t afford the half-million dollars many cities spend on photography for their campaigns, so we turned to the locals, the real experts.”

All pictures will remain on the Capture Wow and Tourism Calgary websites throughout 2011, said Danis, “and we believe they will tell the inside story that Canada’s fourth largest city is a place that offers world-class experiences. The campaign supports the 100th anniversary of the Calgary Stampede next year and the city’s bid to be the 2012 Cultural Capital of Canada”.


Real Madrid’s Football Players as Brand Ambassadors for Madrid and Spain

Legendary football club Real Madrid has signed a deal to promote Spain and Madrid as tourist destinations.

The deal means that the club’s star players such as Cristiano Ronaldo will act as “brand ambassadors” for both the Spanish capital and the country as a whole through the “Visit Spain, Visit Madrid” campaign. Tourism authorities expect the three-year agreement will reach a potential audience of over 300 million people because of Real Madrid’s worldwide fan base.

Spanish Tourist Office spokeswoman said: “This is a groundbreaking agreement in which both Madrid and Spain will be promoted internationally through one of the most renowned clubs worldwide promoting both tourism brands to all corners of the globe.

“The agreement, valid for three years, will allow the public institutions to use the main players of the club as ‘Spain and Madrid brand ambassadors’ in various international advertising campaigns. The agreement also provides for the utilisation of advertising space in each of the official matches in the league and the Cup to be held in Santiago Bernabeu Stadium organised by Real Madrid.”

Mayor Alberto Ruiz Gallardon:
“This city’s most important asset, and that which we feel most proud of, is Real Madrid and its values, which is what we want to promote around the world. In large part it belongs to all Spaniards, because you are ambassadors of Spain.”

Minister of Industry, Tourism and Commerce Miguel Sebastian:
“Real Madrid is an icon of Spain. It is a winning team and one of the most visible clubs on an international level, but what we must promote is its culture of hard work and the excellence in its genes.”