China Expected to Top Business Travel Market in 2016

Photo via Wikipedia.
Photo via Wikipedia.

Business travel spending in China is expected to expand 15.9% in 2014 to $262 billion and increase another 18% in 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.

“The unprecedented growth in China’s economy has propelled the country’s business travel market to represent roughly 20% of global business travel spending,” said Welf J. Ebeling, regional director for GBTA Asia. “The continuation of China’s robust domestic economic growth is dependent on increased consumption. Chinese authorities are focused on maintaining these current levels of economic growth while continuing to execute a long-term strategy to rebalance the economy to be less dependent on exports and investments and more focused on consumption.”

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

  • Chinese economic activity rebounded in Q2 2014 after a more sluggish start to the year, largely due to improving exports, stronger household consumption and stimulus-driven local government infrastructure spending.
  • As previously forecasted, China is expected to overtake the U.S. as the No. 1 business travel market in the world. Given our current projected growth in business travel in the two markets, we expect China to surpass the U.S. in spending by 2016.
  • GBTA expects China will see a continuation of robust domestic growth in 2014 and 2015, growing 16% and 18% respectively. 
  • After a few years of tepid growth, China’s international outbound (IOB) travel is beginning to improve. GBTA expects IOB spending in China to grow 16% in 2014 and an additional 19% in 2015 to $13.4 billion USD.

“Economic growth in China continues to provide great potential for an active business travel market,” said Stanford Lin, head of products at Visa China. “According to the latest International Monetary Fund report, China has overtaken the U.S. to become the world’s largest economy in terms of purchasing power. In line with GBTA’s report, we are seeing that China’s business travel market continues to evolve in 2014, driven by fast-growing outbound travel. …”

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