Business travelers down, costs go up

| Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Fewer business travelers are likely to hit the road this year as the travel industry is challenged by corporate America's persistent economic fears.

Business travelers are expected to take 431.8 million trips in 2013, the Global Business Travel Association said Tuesday. The industry trade group had forecast 435 million trips back in July. The latest estimate would mean a 1.1 percent decline from the 436.5 million trips taken in 2012.

Airfare, hotel rooms, meals and car rentals have pushed up the overall price of business travel.

In 2012, business travelers spent $254.9 billion, up 1.6 percent from the prior year. This year, the travel association expects a 4.6 percent increase to $266.7 billion. That's down slightly from the $268.5 billion predicted in July.

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