Global business travel spending is expected to rise throughout 2013 and continue its climb over the next several years, according to the latest Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) BTI Outlook – Annual Global Report & Forecast, sponsored by Visa Inc. In fact, global spending on business travel is forecasted to reach $1.12 trillion in 2013, a 5.4% increase from 2012.

According to the report, business travel spending in the second half of 2013 is expected to lay the foundation for 8.2% growth in 2014, followed by 7.6%, 7.2% and 7.1% growth in 2015, 2016 and 2017 respectively.

The latest global business travel report was released at the GBTA Convention in San Diego last week.

The latest global business travel report was released at the GBTA Convention in San Diego last week.

Covering travel spending in 75 countries — along with top industries, economic factors and characteristics that influence business travel — the GBTA report finds that developing markets around the world, particularly countries in the Asia Pacific and Latin America regions, will reshape the business travel landscape.

Fast growing markets like China, India and Brazil are expected to become major players in global business travel, according to the report. By 2017, China’s business travel spending is expected to reach $375 billion — it has grown from $32 billion at the start of the millennium. In 2012, India moved up to the 10th largest business travel market with a total of $22.1 billion spent on business travel. And Brazil is expected to become the sixth largest business travel market in 2014 — it is the largest business travel market in Latin America with $30 billion spent in 2012.

“This year’s global BTI shows the importance that emerging markets like China, Brazil and India play in the global business travel marketplace,” said Tad Fordyce, head of global commercial solutions at Visa Inc. “With global business travel expected to experience continued growth in the next few years, China is projected to overcome the U.S. as the top business travel market in the world by 2016."

Looking at North America, the report anticipates that Mexico will have the highest growth in business travel spending over the next five years, with a projection of $7 billion in 2013. As Mexico experiences economic reforms, its economy is expected to develop faster than its U.S. neighbor.

Although global BTI has recently been greater in the developing world than in the developed markets like the U.S. and Europe, the GBTA report shows signs of BTS recovery. Despite a shaky economic recovery, the report shows that U.S. business travel spending is projected to grow from $262 billion in 2012 to $273 billion in 2013. The Eurozone economy is still lagging due to the recent debt crisis, but GBTA says that Western Europe’s major markets should see an improvement in business travel in the next five years.

By Amy Winter

Country 2012 Total Spending Percentage Growth vs. 2011
United States $262 billion 4.4%
China $196 billion 13.2%
Japan $65.2 billion -1.2%
Germany $50.5 billion 1.1%
United Kingdom $40.2 billion 0.1%
France $35.7 billion -2.1%
Italy $32.7 billion -7.5%
South Korea $30.5 billion 2.8%
Brazil $30.1 billion 9.3%
India $22.1 billion 5.8%
Canada $22.0 billion 1.4%
Australia $21.1 billion 2.8%
Russia $20.4 billion 2.6%
Spain $17.9 billion -8.0%
Netherlands $17.8 billion -4.5%