Travel Daily talks to Welf J Ebeling, Vice President of Operations in Asia at the Global Business Travel Association
(GBTA) about the launch of its India chapter and the potential of business travel in the country.
Q) What are the growth projections for India’s business travel market?
India is quickly becoming a major global business travel market. In 2012, the country surpassed Canada to become the 12th largest business travel market in the world with a total spending of US$22.1 billion on business travel. Over the next five years, India’s business travel spend will grow at a compound rate of 13.5%, making it one of the fastest growing markets in the world. Approximately 92% of the business travel spends in India is through domestic travel, while the rest comes from international outbound travel.
According to the GBTA BTI Outlook – Annual Global Report & Forecast, global business travel spending is forecast to reach US$1.12 trillion in 2013, a 5.4% increase from 2012.
Q) With the launch of the GBTA India chapter, what is your focus in the Indian market?
The GBTA’s India chapter will essentially be run by Indians and have a buyer driven focus. India’s steering committee which comprises of buyers and sellers will be the key members to run the chapter in the country. We are also looking at adding more sectors to the India chapter which will help the business travel sector to grow at the projected rate. The association will also focus on education for the travel professionals.
Q) What kind of activities will GBTA conduct in the Indian market?
For the first time we will conduct the Fundamentals of Business Travel Management in Mumbai, a course which is designed as a guide to the key facets of travel management. The Fundamentals curriculum includes the full range of basics – safety, policy, trends and performance.
Next year, we will introduce the Global Travel Professional (GTP) Certification course which is designed to raise industry standards, enhance work performance and recognise individuals who demonstrate core competencies essential to the business travel management discipline. In Asia, this course will be launched in Singapore this year.
In 2014, GBTA will also publish its first Business Travel Outlook Report for India. So far, the report has been published for developing markets like China and Brazil, while markets like Russia and India will be introduced next year onwards, thus completing the BRIC circle. The India report will be a detailed country specific analysis of business travel patterns, spends and upcoming trends in the market.
Q) Can you highlight the business travel spending from the Asia Pacific region?
Business travel spending in the Asia Pacific region has grown 8% annually since 2000, more than doubling the size and totaling US$393 billion in 2012.
China is moving towards global dominance of the business travel market, and GBTA now expects that it will surpass the US as the largest business travel market in the world by 2016. Spending in China has grown from US$32 billion at the start of the millennium to US$196 billion in 2012, and is further expected to grow to US$375 billion by 2017.