Does it matter that business travel’s on hold?

Research shows business travel affects international economies.


August 14, 2020

Definitely.

You might not miss long flights and funky hotel bathrooms, but researchers say there’s good reason to stockpile travel-size shampoo: Biz travel boosts international economies.

It’s who you know… and their knowhow

A Harvard study found that when business travelers visit other countries, they share “knowhow” — intangible expertise that grows alongside other people.

Let’s say the US attracts a lot of business travelers from Germany, an auto-industry heavyweight. The study says it’s likely that the US car industry will grow, too.

And location is important: Countries that are close to knowhow-rich nations see big benefits.

The researchers estimate the economies of Austria, Switzerland, Ireland, and Denmark are ⅓ bigger than they would be without the imported knowhow.

Which brings up a problem

Stop traveling, and we’ll stop the flow of knowhow.

Global GDP would drop by ~1% if the US (one of the biggest knowhow exporters) stopped business travel.

A permanent shutdown, the researchers predict, would drive a double-digit loss.

So it’s just like that old kids’ song: The more we get together, the happier we’ll be.

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