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More Business Travel This Year

Business travel is on the rise, according to recent research analyses. American Express, for example, predicts that overall travel costs for corporations will increase by around 3% this year, as business travel continues to recover and travel demand increases. It says that growing business travel demand is outpacing the levels of supply, but at the same time competition – particularly in the airline sector – is holding pricing down.

And according to Carlson Wagonlit Travel: “All signs point to a healthier business travel environment this year.” The travel management company says that a recent research project commissioned by the company shows that more than two-thirds of all executives on the road expect to travel more this year.

“We have been very encouraged with the pace of business … over the past six months and this survey confirms … that business travel may finally bounce back to something akin to pre-9/11 days,” says the travel management company.

But not all are happy with present business travel. The survey, which was conducted among 1,200 business travelers and 300 travel managers in North America, also shows that a business traveler’s pet peeves -passengers who stuff oversized pieces of luggage into overhead lockers and the long lines for airport security- have a greater impact on executive flyers than concerns about terrorism or flight delays.

Almost a third of business travelers get angry over hand luggage that should have been stowed in the hold, while crying babies were cited by 13 percent. Temperatures also rise when executives find out that other passengers paid less for their tickets (19 percent).

The biggest irritation for Canadian business travelers were those who disturbed them by not letting them work, sleep or read on a trip.

Yet, despite varying annoyances, business travelers are welcoming more security precautions. They believe that new fingerprinting or iris-screening technology is the most effective way governments can ensure the safety of flying travelers.

The survey also found that just over half (52 percent) of North American business travelers do the majority of their booking on the Internet, with nine out of 10 executives saying they would be hesitant to travel to the Middle East on business.

As well, although the forecasts vary, prices for airfare, hotel and car rental are expected to rise incrementally during 2005.

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