Business travel, as opposed to leisure travel, refers to trips made to attend business meetings, conferences, trade shows, and other work-related activities, and does not include regular commuting from employers’ homes to their place of work. In 2020, Europe was the region with the second-highest amount of business tourism spending worldwide, surpassed only by the Asia Pacific region. In terms of the sheer amount of business tourism spending in Europe, Germany reported the highest value in 2020, with roughly 36 billion U.S. dollars. That year, the United Kingdom, Italy, and France followed on the ranking. Meanwhile, Denmark had the largest share of business travel spending in Europe in 2020, with 40 percent of the country’s total travel and tourism expenditure generated by work-related trips.
Impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on European business travel
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, business travel, like global leisure travel and tourism, came to a halt as many countries closed their borders and imposed strict travel restrictions. Even by 2022, business travel spending in Europe was expected to decrease compared to pre-pandemic levels. During the health crisis, many businesses had no choice but to either cancel physical events or replace them with digital or hybrid versions. When asked about the future format of business exhibitions in Europe, most exhibition companies predicted that virtual events would not completely replace physical events, but there would be fewer in-person events in general and the hybrid event format would become more popular. Compared to other regions around the world, however, Europe was expected to hold more business fairs in person in 2021.
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