In many industries, travel is a regular necessity for business. Even in the post-COVID age of telecommuting and Zoom meetings, companies are willing to spend significant amounts on travel for in-person collaboration.

Why is this the case? How much is spent on business travel? Where does that money go? What are the trends in the business travel industry? Who travels for business, where are they going, and how long are they staying? These are all key questions for understanding the business travel industry.

I’ve dug deep into data from key sources in the industry, like the Global Business Travel Association, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, and Expedia’s Bleisure Travel Trends Report. After extensive in-depth research, I extracted several key findings.

For decades, business travel looked very much the same. As younger people and women are traveling more for business, and as more people are adding leisure time to their business trips, the landscape of business travel is changing dramatically.

Key Business Travel Statistics

  • Over $1 trillion is spent annually on business travel worldwide.
  • Business professionals expect 25% more revenue generated from in-person collaboration over virtual meetings.
  • China has the highest business travel spending at $360 billion in 2022.
  • The largest percentage of business travel spending goes towards lodgings, with meals coming in second.
  • The average business traveler is a 42-year-old male, but that is changing as more young people and more women are going on corporate trips than ever before.

Business Travel Spending Statistics

In 2019 (before the pandemic), the business travel industry accounted for $1.4 trillion in global spending. While 2022 spending was still lagging due to pandemic recovery ($1.03 trillion), the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) predicts business travel spending will surpass pre-pandemic levels in 2024 and continue to grow to $1.8 trillion in 2027.

With so much being spent, the business travel market is a significant economic force. Not only does corporate travel inject money into the tourism industry and local economies, it also leads to improved productivity and profits. Even in the world of Zoom and telecommuting, the need for business trips isn’t going away anytime soon.

It’s telling that companies carve out a significant budget for corporate travel spending. Clearly, there is an expected return on investment for companies to be willing to make the spend, especially since the average business trip is often more expensive than leisure travel.

According to the ACCOR Business of Travel Report, business professionals expect 25% more revenue generated from traveling for in-person collaboration over virtual meetings.

It’s worth understanding how much is spent on business travel, where that money goes, and when companies decide business travel is worth it.

Here are the key business travel spending statistics to understand the economic impacts of the business travel industry.

Business Travel Spending by Country

Global business travel spending is highly concentrated in a few countries with industrial economies, with China and the United States far outpacing the rest of the world.

Here are the top 15 countries for business travel spending according to the 2023 Business Travel Index Outlook from the GBTA.

Business Travel Spending by Country
Country Spending (Billions USD)



United States






United Kingdom






South Korea
















It’s no surprise that, with a few exceptions, these same countries are also the highest ranked for GDP. Interestingly, Russia is the only country in the top ten for GDP that doesn’t appear on this list.

Business travelers are almost universally traveling within or between these 15 countries.

The rest of the world combined only adds $207 billion to the total global business travel spending. As with many other metrics, this shows how much the world’s economic activity and wealth is concentrated within a few regions. These 15 countries make up only about half the global population, but they account for 85% of the global business travel spending.

Business Travel Spending Categories

Business travel can be broken into several spending categories to see where companies are spending the most money. The chart below shows the total 2022 spending across five categories according to the GBTA.


2022 Spending (Billions USD)





Ground Transport






It’s easy to assume that airfare would be the leading expense for business trips. In reality, it’s only third on the list after lodging and meals. Lodging is the largest spending by far for corporate travel, accounting for more than double the amount of any other category.

Business Travel Spending vs Leisure Travel Spending

While business travel is a large industry, leisure travel is even bigger. The table below shows total travel spending divided between business and leisure travel according to Statista.

Leisure Spending Business Spending

United States



China 84.4%



83.8% 16.2%
United Kingdom 70.8%



83.8% 16.2%
France 84.0%



95.0% 5.0%
Italy 83.6%



95.3% 4.7%
Spain 88.1%


Brazil 90.8%


On average, only 15.2% of travel spending comes from business travel. 84.8% is from leisure travel.

However, that breakdown is not consistent across all travel industries. Hotels, dining, and tourist activities generally make much more money from leisure travelers, but many airlines actually earn a larger percentage of revenue from business travelers.

According to Investopedia, only 12% of airline passengers are business travelers. However, because business travelers pay higher rates, more often book last-minute, and are more likely to fly first class, they can account for up to 75% of airline profits.

While many leisure travelers try to save as much money on airfare as possible, corporations are often more likely to spend extra for upgraded business travel comfort.

Research from Business Traveler found that 33% of international business travel flights are in premium class, and 13% of domestic business travel flights are in premium class.

While leisure travel is significantly larger, business travel spending is still a critical component of the travel industry.

Business Traveler Demographics

Traditionally, the majority of business travelers fit within a very distinct demographic. The average business traveler is a 42-year-old man.

But times are changing. Younger people and women are traveling more for business, and these trends will likely change what business travel looks like in the future.

Here are the key business travel statistics relating to traveler demographics.

Business Traveler Age

Generally, people traveling for business are more likely to be in more advanced roles in their career, and people in leadership roles often travel more than others.

Business Travelers by Age

Age Group

% Of Business Travelers











The vast majority of business travelers are in their 30s and 40s—people who are in the stage of working up the ladder in their career. The average age for business travelers is 42.

However, according to market research by Skift, the average age of business travelers is gradually shifting downward, and more younger people are traveling for work.

This will have dramatic affects on the business travel market, as younger travelers prefer Uber over taxis, vacation rentals over hotels, and are less likely to make booking decisions based on travel loyalty programs.

Business Traveler Gender

Historically, corporate travelers have dominantly been men. A Bureau of Transportation Statistics report found that 77% of business travelers that year were men.

However, that trend is beginning to change. The table below compares 2001 gender breakdown with updated 2022 statistics for business travelers.

Gender Difference in Business Travel Over Time









In 2022, 37% of business trips were made by women. That’s up 14% from the 2021 figures.

As workplaces around the world make slow progress toward gender equality, women will take more business trips than ever before.

Interestingly, while business travelers are much more likely to be men, the opposite is true for leisure travel, according to research by Forbes. The table below shows a comparison of the gender breakdown in business travel and leisure travel.

Gender Difference in Leisure and Business Travel



Leisure Travelers



Business Travelers



64% of travelers on leisure trips are women.

The demographics for business and leisure travel are not aligned. Where the average business traveler is a 42-year-old man, the average leisure traveler is a 47-year-old woman.

Clearly, women are more apt to travel than men outside the workplace, and the only reason that men are more likely to travel for work is due to overall gender inequality in business. It will be interesting to see if women surpass men in business travel as companies move towards gender equality in workplaces.

Yearly Business Travel Trends

As with most industries, business travel has been growing steadily. As companies continue to grow globally, international collaboration will become more important, and business travel will become even more essential.

The table below shows the global business travel spending over time from 2007 to 2022 according to Statista.

Year Global Business Travel Spending (Billions USD)
2007 $887
2008 $917
2009 $865
2010 $932
2011 $1022
2012 $1047
2013 $1098
2014 $1168
2015 $1208
2016 $1251


2018 $1408
2019 $1412
2020 $670
2021 $690
2022 $1017

Prior to COVID-19, the only recent drop in business travel spending occurred in 2009, during the recession. From 2008 to 2009, business travel spending dropped 5.7%.

Over the next 10 years, business travel spending increased by 63% and peaked at $1408 billion in 2019. This progress was followed by a massive drop, as the COVID-19 pandemic put a damper on travel.

From 2019 to 2020, business travel spending dropped 53% due to pandemic travel bans.

While the travel industry as a whole has recovered quickly from the pandemic, business travel has had a slower return to pre-pandemic levels according to Deloitte Insights.

Still, growth is on the way. Global business travel spending is expected to surpass pre-pandemic levels in 2024 and continue to grow.

“Bleisure” Statistics

In recent years there has been an increase in business travelers participating in leisure activities or asking to add extra time to their business trips to enjoy free time at their destination. This growing form of business tourism has earned the nickname “bleisure.”

Bleisure trips should become a more important consideration for corporate travel managers when designing a company’s travel policy. When business travelers spend more time as tourists at their destination, they are more likely to see corporate trips as a perk of their job rather than a burden.

The Expedia Group conducted a survey of over 2,500 bleisure travelers worldwide, and I’ve unpacked the key statistics from their report that you need to know.

Bleisure Trip Length

Since bleisure involves combining tourism, downtime, and relaxation with business travel, no two trips are the same. There are definite trends in the bleisure market though.

The first important trend is that bleisure is becoming increasingly popular. On average, 60% of business trips include time added on for leisure.

The length of a business trip is important for travelers deciding whether to add on leisure time to corporate travel. The table below shows a breakdown of bleisure travelers based on the length of stay for business.

Business Trip Length

1 Night

2 Nights


3 Nights

4+ Nights


The large majority of business trips that turn into bleisure trips are 2 or 3 nights. 50% of survey respondents said they were most likely to extend business travel for leisure if they had to stay 2-3 nights. This time only includes the business travel portion of the trip, and most people adding leisure time into a trip will spend several extra days.

When adding leisure onto corporate travel, people spend 3.9 working days and 2.9 leisure days on average. That means leisure time can nearly double the length of a trip.

Bleisure Travel Destination Statistics

International business trips and domestic business trips are equally likely to become bleisure travel. 51% of domestic business trips are bleisure trips, and 52% of international trips include bleisure.

The destination also matters for business travelers when considering adding leisure time to corporate travel. The table below shows the top features of a destination that make a business traveler more likely to add leisure time to their trip.

Bleisure Destination Priorities




Natural sightseeing locations



Historical monuments/sightseeing



Iconic/bucket list/must visit

Outdoor recreation


According to this research from Expedia Business Group, good food, beaches, natural sightseeing, and good weather are the top considerations that make for a popular bleisure destination.

Bleisure Traveler Statistics

The number of business travelers including leisure in business trips varies by profession. The table below shows the top five occupation categories for bleisure travel.

Bleisure Traveler Occupations









By far the most bleisure travelers work in technology, IT, or software. In general, technology workers travel more than most other professions, which is a key reason for why technology workers are more likely to include leisure time in their travels.

Another way to characterize bleisure travelers is by how frequently they leave on business travel.

Business Trip Frequency of Bleisure Travelers

Once a Week


3+ Times a Month

Once or Twice a Month


Once Every 2-3 Months

Once Every 4-6 Months


Once a Year

Less than Once a Year


Most business travelers adding leisure to a corporate trip are those who take business trips every 2-3 months. The average bleisure traveler takes 6.4 business trips each year.

Sources and Methodology

This report is based on a comprehensive and in-depth analysis of business travel spending, demographics, geographic trends, and yearly trends. I gathered this data from market research firms, academic studies, and government agencies.

The GBTA 2023 Business Travel Index Outlook, ACCOR Business of Travel Report, and Expedia’s Bleisure Travel Trends Report were key sources of information for understanding the landscape of business travel and the trends in the industry.

Other key sources for the business travel trends and demographics in this report include the Global Business Travel Association, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Statista, Forbes, Business Traveler, and Investopedia. Any sources not included here are cited directly in the text.

There is a tremendous amount of information and data available across these sources, but it is disjointed and often difficult to interpret. I compiled raw data and individual findings from these sources into a single cohesive resource.

I used this wide range of information to generate the tables, graphs, and statistics in this report.

Final Business Travel Findings

Travel is a key part of many businesses. It drives innovation, improves productivity, and increases profits. While COVID-19 created a temporary pause, business travel is back, and will only be growing.

Business travel only accounts for about 15% of total global travel spending, but it is a key market segment for many industries, especially airlines. Business travelers are more likely to fly premium class and spend more on travel overall.

There are also several key factors driving change in the business travel industry. Business travel has traditionally been a male-dominated activity, but more and more women are traveling for business. Younger people are also traveling more for business than ever before. More people are creating “bleisure” trips by adding extra days for leisure onto business trips.

If companies can latch onto these trends and create supportive and inclusive travel policies, business travel can become both more profitable to companies and more rewarding for travelers.

Business Travel Statistics FAQs

Is business travel increasing?

While business travel still hasn’t recovered to pre-pandemic levels, it is steadily increasing.

What percentage of flights are business travel?

On average, around 12% of the passengers on a flight are traveling for business.

How big is the business travel market?

In 2022, the business travel industry accounted for $1 trillion in spending globally.

What companies spend the most on business travel?

Amazon is the company that spends the most on business travel.

Which industries have the most business travel?

Tech and IT industries have the most business travel.

About the Author

Jakob Thygerson

Jakob Thygerson is an outdoor adventure seeker who collects sunburns, National Park maps, and trail miles. He loves anything that gets him outdoors, whether it’s on foot, on skis, on a bike, or on the open road. A native of the Mountain West, he’s most at home in mountains and deserts with clear air and bright stars.
He has a background in product design engineer and knows the ins and outs of materials, design, and manufacturing processes. He loves using this knowledge to analyze outdoor equipment and is an unrepentant gearhead.

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