Corporate TravelAccording to American Express’ annual report, close to 64% of meeting professionals in Asia Pacific are optimistic about the recovery of business travel.

Business travel expected to make resilient comeback in 2022

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Two-thirds of global respondents surveyed believe in-person meetings will revert to pre-pandemic levels in one to two years.
Two-thirds of global respondents surveyed believe in-person meetings will revert to pre-pandemic levels in one to two years. Photo Credit: iStock/FatCamera

The meetings and events industry is readying for a much-needed comeback and sooner than many expected.

Findings from the 2022 Global Meetings and Events Forecast, the 11th annual report produced by American Express Meetings & Events, a division of American Express Global Business Travel (GBT), were positive.

“While we are all eager to see the pent-up demand for meetings and events fully realised, we recognise that recovery will not be a straight line and we can’t get there by simply repeating what we’ve done in the past,” said Gerardo Tejado, GBT’s Senior Vice President of Value Development and General Manager of Meetings & Events.

“As we look to 2022, we expect the optimism, resourcefulness and innovation we’ve seen in the sector over the past two years lead to a new era of thoughtful, tech-forward, responsible M&E (Meetings & Events) strategies.”

Two-thirds (67%) of respondents believe in-person meeting levels will return to their pre-pandemic numbers within one to two years.

Meetings and events are projected to grow next year, with 81% of events taking place in 2022 expected to have at least an in-person component. Budgets are also increasing for events with 64% of respondents indicating that they are boosting their budgets.

However, it will not be business as usual. Many meetings and events planners are taking the lessons that they learnt during the pandemic to plan events with more value, effectiveness and sustainability.

Virtual components will not go away with hybrid meeting platforms gaining traction to reach wider audiences. Since the pandemic, organisations have realised the value of internal meetings, with internal and training meetings projected to see the largest growth.

Broken down by region, the meeting professionals in the Asia Pacific region are fairly positive about 2022. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) said they would rank their optimism level as eight or higher on a scale of 1-10, and 58 percent believe their career options are good to excellent.

Meeting professionals in Central and South America are the most optimistic about 2022, 87% ranked their optimism level as 8 or higher on a scale of 1 to 10, while 82% believe their career options are good to excellent.

The meeting professionals in North America are also strongly optimistic about a recovery in 2022, with 74% of its meeting professionals rating their optimism level as eight or higher, on a scale of 1-10. North America also resumed in-person meetings and events with 31% doing so already in June and July of this year. It is also the region most likely to have events already planned for 2022.

In Europe, meeting professionals were more guardedly optimistic about the comeback, 59% had an optimism level of eight or higher on a scale of 1-10; the lowest of the four regions.

The meeting professionals in the Asia Pacific region are fairly positive about 2022. Nearly two-thirds (64%) said they would rank their optimism level as eight or higher on a scale of 1-10, and 58% believe their career options are good to excellent.

Source: TravelPulse

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