China to Surpass U.S. as Top Business Travel Market in 2015

Photo via wiwin.wr/Flickr.
Photo via wiwin.wr/Flickr.

Business travel spending in China is expected to expand 17.8% to $309 billion throughout 2015, according to the latest semi-annual “GBTA BTI Outlook – China” report by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Foundation.

Sponsored by Visa Inc., the report includes the GBTA BTI — an index of business travel spending that distills market performance over a period of time.

According to the GBTA, key highlights of the report include:

  • Closely in line with GBTA’s 2013H2 Outlook, GBTA projects China’s total business travel spend to grow 16.5% to $262.1 billion in 2014 — more than double the rate of China’s GDP growth.
  • China’s recent announcement of 2013Q4 and full-year GDP growth at 7.7% paints a picture of slow but steady growth (by China standards.)
  • As GBTA had forecasted, China is poised to overtake the U.S. as the No. 1 business travel market in the world. GBTA expects China to surpass the U.S. in spending as early as next year.
  • The surge in Chinese business travel spending is driven by both domestic and international outbound travel, with domestic being the main driver making up nearly 95% of the spending on Chinese business travel.
  • China’s business travel market represents roughly 20% of the global business travel market, up from 5.1% in 2000. Over this period, total business travel spending grew by more than 16% per year.

“The growth in China’s economy has been unprecedented, propelling the country’s business travel market to the second largest market in the world, driven by real spending gains from rising business travel demand in both transient and group meetings and events,” said Welf J. Ebeling, regional director for GBTA Asia. “Even facing headwinds as of late due to restrictions on spending in the public sector, domestic business travel spending continues to grow, and international outbound also shows some promising signs of growth thanks to China’s improving export performance and improved economic performance among China’s key trading partners – the U.S. and Europe.”

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