Washington, DC – Business travel in Asia Pacific, led by a dominant China, outpaces that in the rest of the world, according to a newly released travel forecast by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA).
Global business travel spending is expected to hit a record $1.18 trillion in 2014, a 6.9 percent growth over the previous year, the forecast said.
Driven by infrastructure investments, exports and service development, business travel spending in China has grown from $32 billion in 2000 to $225 billion in 2013, an average of 16.2 percent each year. By comparison, growth in business travel spending from the US has grown at an annual rate of just 1.1 percent since 2000.
The report, which details travel spending in 75 countries, along with the top industries, economic factors and characteristics that influence business travel, finds that record high business travel spending is driven by a few dominant markets – namely the US, China and Western Europe.
The Global Annual Report & Forecast also shows that spending in the US and Western Europe will grow more slowly compared to Asia.
The Asia-Pacific region, the report said, is already the largest business travel region in the world, comprising 38 percent of global business travel. Business travel spending in Asia Pacific totaled $392 billion in 2013 – more than doubling in size since 2000 with a growth rate of 7.5 percent annually.
The GBTA expects business travel spending to continue growing at a 10.2 percent annual pace over the next five years. The association expects that by 2018, Asia-Pacific will have gained another 5 percent in market share, while the US and Western Europe will lose three percent and two percent, respectively.
Italy and Spain slipped in the GBTA’s annual rankings of the top 15 countries by travel spending, while the BRIC countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China – continue to rise in the growth ranking, representing four of the top six countries in terms of business travel spending growth.
There was some reservation about Russia’s position “as an escalating Ukrainian crisis could push Europe and Russia into a recession.”
Moreover, Russia – a country that has been on the rise in recent years in terms of business travel spending – “could see plummeting business travel activity if the crisis continues,” the forecast said, as sanctions from the West “are already taking their toll on the Russian economy with the GBTA expecting business travel spending in Russia will fall more than five percent in 2014.”
Ranked by spending in 2013, the trade group identified the top 15 business travel markets – the US topped the list ($274 billion), followed by China ($225 billion) and Japan ($61 billion).