China to lead growth in business travel spend

17 August 2009

18 August 2009 | Allie Anderson

China is expected to lead a boost in business travel spend by emerging economies over the next five years, while budgets in mature European markets are set to fall.

A global study conducted by the National Business Travel Association (NBTA) and Egencia, the corporate travel branch of Expedia, surveyed travel suppliers and business travellers across 72 countries.

It found the amount UK organisations spend on business travel is expected to fall by 0.2 per cent over the next five years. It is one of a number of mature major markets expected to spend less on business travel over the next few years. A rise in spending by emerging economies is, however, anticipated to make up the shortfall. This is forecast to lead to an overall increase in global business travel spend of 6.1 per cent, or $57 billion (£35 billion), by 2013, taking the market's total size to more than $986 billion (£599 billion).

The study revealed that in 2008, the UK spent £42.5 billion on business travel, making it fifth in the world in terms of total expenditure, with 4.6 per cent of global spend. A 0.2 per cent contraction over the next five years means the UK is expected to spend £17 million less on business travel per year.

The predicted decline will put the UK among the bottom 15 of 72 countries. Other major markets in the bottom 15 include France, Germany, Spain and Italy, which will see falls of 0.6 per cent, 1.7 per cent, 1.4 per cent and 1.2 per cent respectively. The study said this reflected the impact of the recession.

Meanwhile, emerging economies are expected to spend much more in the coming years.

China is expected to lead market growth during 2009-2013 with an increase in business travel spend of 6.5 per cent, followed by India (5.3 per cent), South Korea (3.9 per cent), Japan (3.3 per cent) and the US (0.3 per cent).

Rob Greyber, president of Egencia, said: "Developing countries are proving to be fertile travel areas. Over the next five years, we'll see countries like India and China grow, in contrast to more mature markets such as the UK."


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