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 February 25, 2016
New Survey From ACTE and the CBOC Shows Canadian Travel Spend Down by 2.6 Percent for 2016

 While an uptick in business travel spending is reflected by a slight majority of companies (39 percent) responding to the ninth annual benchmarking survey conducted by the Association of Corporate Travel Executives and The Conference Board of Canada, a near equal number of firms (34 percent) is citing travel program cutbacks. Even with more than a quarter of responding companies (27 percent) indicating "no change" in their budgets, the overall Canadian business travel spend for 2016 is predicted to decrease by 2.6 percent.

"There is a general air of pessimism permeating the business atmosphere this year, and travel managers are being cautious," said Monica Hailstone, ACTE's Canada-based regional director for the Americas. "The collapse of oil prices and a weak Canadian dollar are regarded by 68 percent of respondents as having a negative impact on business travel."

Other causes cited for decreases in travel spending include budget restrictions and leadership mandate (63 percent), the use of travel alternatives (47 percent), and fewer travellers (37 percent). This last statistic represents thousands of oil industry employees who have been furloughed or put on restricted travel. Yet some reductions in travel spending reflect greater efficiencies in accomplishing the corporate objective. These are improved policy compliance, savings based on new technologies (online booking tools and expense management systems), and a decrease in trip duration.

This survey also delved into significant social changes. A growing number of companies are now accommodating the shared economy. Ground transportation alternatives are reimbursed by 50 percent of responding companies. Car sharing is supported by 38 percent, and shared accommodation services are allowed by 21 percent. This level of acceptance marks a dramatic change from just a few years ago. Still, 41 percent of respondents do not see any immediate policy compliance changes regarding mobile technology nor the shared economy.

Fifty-seven respondents, directing a combined travel volume in excess of $700 million, were interviewed for this survey, which was presented to the industry today at the ACTE Toronto Education Forum.