Last updated: 03:32 PM ET, Thu March 12 2015

China Set to Overtake U.S. as Top Business Travel Market

Business Travel | Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) | Patrick Clarke | March 12, 2015

China Set to Overtake U.S. as Top Business Travel Market

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The Global Business Travel Association released its semi-annual GBTA BTI Outlook on China this week, and while the Asian country is projected to see slower economic growth in the coming years, China is still being forecasted to surpass the U.S. as the world's top business travel market before the end of the decade.

Total spending on business travel originating in China grew by an estimated 16.6 percent to $261 billion in 2014 and the GBTA projects that the figure will grow 14.2 percent this year. 

What's more, it's estimated that it will grow another 12 percent next year to reach a mark of $334 billion. 

"While this is slower growth for China, it is all relative," said GBTA executive director and COO Michael W. McCormick in a statement. "There is simply no other market to compare China to as their economic engine continues to move forward at a phenomenal pace, producing double-digit business travel spending growth."

McCormick went on to break down what the impending milestone really means. 

"Whether China becomes the world’s largest business travel market at the end of 2016 or the beginning of 2017 does not matter—what matters is that economic policies being set are showing signs of having a long-term positive impact on the economy, which points to a healthy business travel industry for years to come," added McCormick. 

The vice president and head of products at Visa China, Stanford Lin also pointed out that "China’s economic growth projections in the near term remain robust, which bode well for a strong business travel market, growing more rapidly than the other major markets globally."

Among the other highlights of the report, the GBTA BTI Outlook expects China's international outbound spending to continue to rise at lofty rates, with projected growth of 13.6 percent in 2015 and 11 percent in 2016. 

So far, the result of the rising business travel demand in China has been more and more hoteliers building across the country over past decade. According to the GBTA, "demand growth outpaced supply growth in every class of hotel."


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