China Poised to Take Lead in Business Travel Spending

Recent signs that China’s economic growth is again accelerating is likely to be accompanies by sharp rises in business travel spending according to the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA).

The trade group for corporate travel managers expects spending for 2013 to show a 14% year-on-year increase, followed by a rise of 17% next year. Based on these projections, China is poised to overtake the US as the world’s largest business travel market by 2016.

About 95% of that business travel traffic will stay in Asia, with trips to South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong ranking as the top destinations. The GBTA estimates that the US will rank eighth on the list of top destinations for Chinese business travelers.

Another development from the growth in travel from China is that Beijing Capital International Airport is expected next year to surpass Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport as the world’s busiest airport.

“As China’s economy continues to grow, so does their expected demand for business travel,” said Tad Fordyce, head of global solutions for Visa.

The demand for air travel from China is expected to grow so fast in the next few years that several of China’s airports have had to double or triple their capacity and the nation plans to build about 100 new airports over the next decade, said Joe Bates, vice president of research at GBTA. “The real question is can they keep up with the demand,” he added.

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