US leads the way with 28% of global business travel spend

The emerging markets of Europe is the region that has posted the best business travel growth over the past decade according to sample findings from a study by the National Business Travel Association and Egencia, the corporate travel arm of Expedia.

The United States, with US$261 billion or 28 per cent of the total, still represents the largest piece of global business travel spend.

Evaluating 72 countries, the new study shows that business travel growth patterns vary dramatically across the globe, with North America advancing at an average rate of just over two per cent per year for the last decade, Western Europe growing 4.6 per cent annually and Asia Pacific advancing by 7.2 per cent annually over the same period.

Europe’s emerging markets and Middle East/Africa region advanced annually by 12.4 per cent and 7.7 per cent, respectively, from 1998 to 2008.

NBTA president and CEO Kevin Maguire claims the study is “the most comprehensive look at the global business travel industry available”. It predicts that growth of business travel in China and Japan will exceed US growth over the next five years. In addition, developing nations, such as India, Vietnam, Iran and Indonesia will experience significant compound annual growth rates over the same timeframe.

“Developing countries are proving to be fertile business travel areas,” says president of Egencia, Rob Greyber. “Over the next five years, we’ll see countries like India and China grow at rates of 5.3 and 6.5 per cent respectively, versus the US projected growth rate of 0.3 per cent.”

The study finds that North America, Western Europe and Asia Pacific regions each represent about 30 per cent of the global business travel market (90 per cent combined), estimated to total USD$929 billion in 2008. The figure includes both domestic and outbound international travel.

The remaining 10 per cent of global activity takes place in Latin America, emerging European market countries and the Middle East and Africa.

Over the next five years sectors that directly benefit from both infrastructure development (utilities, government and communications) and economic stimulus packages (education, construction and real estate) are set to experience the most significant growth in business travel spend, according to the study.

Paul Colston

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Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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