Monster storm could have wide-ranging impact on biz travel

By Kate Rice

The potentially monster storm system projected to hit the East Coast just before Halloween -- dubbed “Frankenstorm” by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration -- could cost $600 million in business-travel spending and force the cancellation of half a million business trips, the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) said Friday.

A cold front moving from the Midwest to the Northeast could collide with Hurricane Sandy as it churns up the eastern seaboard to form the storm, which forecasters have said is unusual in its intensity and projected path. Heavy rains, extreme tides, high winds and possibly snow could begin Sunday, peak Tuesday and linger through Halloween.

The GBTA has begun quantifying the impact severe weather can have on business travel. It uses the GBTA’s Business Travel Quarterly methodology to determine how a theoretical Category-3 hurricane on the East Coast would impact the business travel industry, and the results can be applied to any significant weather event, such as Hurricane Sandy, that leads to widespread shutdowns and cancelled travel plans.

According to this model, business travel could lose as much as 514,000 trips and $606 million in spending due to storm-related cancellations. Interrupted business trips could result in a total GDP loss of about $675 million, it predicted.

The eleven states in the path of Frankenstorm could suffer an average business travel spending loss as high as $58 million per day, the GBTA said.

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