China will overtake the US next year to become the world’s largest business travel market, a new report has predicted.
According to the latest ‘BTI Outlook – China’ report from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), China’s business travel sector is to set to grow 16.5% in 2014 – more than double the rate of the country’s GDP growth. And this growth rate is then expected to accelerate in 2015, with the GBTA predicting a 17.8% rise in business travel spending, to US$309 billion.
And this, according to GBTA, would see China overtake the US as the world’s most valuable business travel market in 2015. The US business travel sector is expected to expand 6.6% in 2014, before easing slightly to a growth rate of 6.1% in 2015, reaching an estimated value of US$307bn next 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 US and Europe.”
According to the report, the surge in Chinese business travel spending is being driven by domestic travel, which makes up almost 95% of the country’s total business travel spending. China’s business travel market now represents approximately 20% of the global business travel market, up from 5% in 2000. Business travel spending has grown by an average of 16% per year over this period.