Business travel spend: from $18bn in 2000 to $277bn
China will probably overtake the USA as the biggest business travel market by 2020, various studies suggest. Expenditure and investment in infrastructure are skyrocketing and secondary cities are fast emerging as viable business destinations. Business travel expenditure in the country jumped from $18 billion in 2000 to $62 billion in 2010 and is expected to balloon to $277 billion by 2020 – eclipsing the US – according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.
Some $237 billion has been earmarked for infrastructure development between 2011 and 2015, the Global Business Travel Association says, with a further $239 billion committed to developing China’s high-speed rail network.
“Despite a slowdown in the speed of economic growth in China, business travel to the region continues to increase,” said Yates Fei, Hogg Robinson Group’s director of sales and account management for China. “Figures from the GBTA suggest China will become the world’s biggest travel market within three years.”
China’s airlines will grow at an annual average of 8.9% over the next 20 years, Boeing forecasts. Air travel currently makes up 85% of business trips in China, although rail travel will rise as Chinese authorities plan to have all cities with more than 500,000 inhabitants connected by 2020.
[pictured: Pedestrian mall, Nanping District,Chongqing; photo by Prof.Chen Hualin]