Last updated: 01:30 PM ET, Mon July 27 2015

GBTA Predicts Record High In Business Travel

Business Travel | Rich Thomaselli | July 27, 2015

GBTA Predicts Record High In Business Travel

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The Global Business Travel Association released its annual forecast today on the first day of its yearly convention, and is predicting that global business travel spending will hit a record $1.25 trillion in 2015, a 6.5 percent growth over 2014.

The report was prepared by the GBTA Foundation, the education and research arm of the Global Business Travel Association, which details business travel spending in 75 countries across 48 industries over 15 years, including a rolling five-year projection.

GBTA says that despite recent economic turbulence, China business travel will increase by 61 percent over the next five years, from $261 billion in 2014 to $420 billion in 2019. That increase is greater than the increases in business travel growth in the next eight largest countries combined, including the U.S., Germany, India, U.K., Indonesia, France, Turkey and Japan.

Growth will remain strong through 2019, with business travel projected to grow 6.9 percent in 2016, 6.0 percent in 2017, 6.4 percent in 2018 and 5.8 percent in 2019.

“Despite recent economic speedbumps, China will pull away as the global leader in business travel over the next five years,” GBTA Executive Director and COO Michael W. McCormick said in a statement. “On the horizon, we’ve identified five nations that are also seeing extraordinary growth and could very well turn into the business travel markets of the future. Another market to watch is India, which is statistically where China was 15 years ago.”

The large majority of business travel spending in 2014 occurs in a few dominant markets. In fact, over two-thirds of total business travel spending continues to occur in the U.S., China and Western Europe. Currently Asia Pacific owns the largest share of the business travel spend market with 39 percent followed by North America with 27 percent and Western Europe with 24 percent.

GBTA expects that by 2019, Asia Pacific will have gained another 3.5 percentage points in market share, while the United States and Western Europe will lose 2.7 percentage points and 0.6 percentage points, respectively.

“The global business travel market is incredibly dynamic, with dozens of countries around the world such as China, India and Mexico, growing at remarkable rate,” said Brian Triplett, SVP, Head of Commercial Product, Visa Inc. “As these markets develop, safe and secure electronic payments will help corporations and business travelers around the globe track and manage their business travel spend.”

More than any other country, India is poised for breakout growth. In 2014, India had $26 billion in business travel spending, which will grow by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.5 percent through 2019 to $45 billion. Fifteen years from now, India will likely be a top-five market in business travel spending.

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