UK firms pay pounds 10m a week on travel expenses

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The Independent Online
SPENDING by UK companies on overseas business and incentive travel for staff increased by 11.5 per cent to more than pounds 10m a week in 1993, and industry predictions point to another rise this year.

The meetings and incentive travel industry fared badly during the recession, as companies clamped down on trips abroad to reduce overheads.

In particular, incentive travel rewards for sales staff were dropped. Many overseas events were moved to UK locations.

The latest findings, however, indicate that companies have started to re-invest in their employees.

A survey conducted for next month's Meetings & Incentive Travel Show in London reveals that the top 10 companies in the industry enjoyed at least a 10 per cent growth in sales last year.

The highest taxable profit earned in the industry was pounds 4m by Maritz - a 33 per cent rise on 1992. Big gains among smaller participants included a 53 per cent advance to pounds 723,000 by Capital Incentives.

In terms of turnover, the largest was IEL Travel at pounds 52m, followed by Maritz at pounds 42m and Purchasepoint at pounds 21m.

An expanded survey, covering the 24 largest companies in the industry, points to a further 10 per cent increase in meetings and incentive travel this year.

France is the most favoured short-haul destination. Nearly one quarter of staff trips abroad were taken there.

Switzerland was the next most popular short-haul stop with a 14 per cent share of trips taken, while Germany was the least favourite in the top 10 destinations.

The US is the front-runner in the long-haul market, accounting for 57.4 per cent of trips taken. Hong Kong is second with 9.9 per cent, and Canada third with 8.3 per cent.

Other short-haul destinations were Spain, Italy, Portugal, Monaco, Turkey, Ireland and Austria.