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GBTA: Business travel spend rising

Business Travellers

By James Wilkinson in San Diego

Worldwide spending on business travel is on the rise and expected to reach USD$1.12 trillion in 2013, according to the latest survey by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA).

The ‘GBTA BTI Outlook – Annual Global Report and Forecast’, which details spending in 75 countries, was released at the GBTA Convention in San Diego today (Aug 6 local time) where around 7000 delegates are gathered at the world’s largest business travel event.

The USD$1.12 trillion spending mark this year is on the back of an expected 5.4% increase on 2012, and growth is also expected in the coming years.

GBTA says steady business travel spending in the second half of 2013 is expected to lay the foundation for 8.2% growth in 2014, followed by 7.6%, 7.2% and 7.1% growth in 2015, 2016 and 2017 respectively.

Emerging markets are leading the charge, with business travel spend expected to reach USD$196 billion in China (up 13.2%), $30.1 billion in Brazil (up 9.3%) and $22.1 billion in India (up 5.8%).

The United States leads the way with $262 billion in business travel spend (up 4.4%), while Australia is in 12th with $21.1 billion (up 2.8%).

“This report shows that new opportunities are opening up in markets around the world for companies willing to invest in business travel to drive growth,” said GBTA Executive Director and COO, Michael W. McCormick.

“It also serves as yet another wake-up call for the U.S. and Europe to improve aging infrastructure, establish fiscal order and stay competitive, because emerging economies are increasingly focused on meeting their own fast-growing business travel needs.”

A number of European markets are flat or down, including Germany ($50.5 billion, up 1.1%), the United Kingdom ($40.2 billion, up 0.1%), France ($35.7 billion, down 2.1%), Italy ($32.7 billion, down 7.5%), Spain ($17.9 billion, down 8%) and the Netherlands ($17.8 billion, down 4.5%).

Russia continues to be the shining light in Europe, with 2.6% growth expected to take business travel spending to USD$20.4 billion.

It’s not all doom and gloom for Europe. GBTA says it “expects that the worst in Europe is over” and the next five years “should see a bounce back in business travel among all of Western Europe’s major markets”.

The report this year was sponsored by Visa and the company’s head of global commercial solutions, Tad Fordyce, said emerging markets have been the key to growth in business travel globally.

“This year’s global BTI shows the importance that emerging markets like China, Brazil and India play in the global business travel marketplace,” Fordyce said.

“With global business travel expected to experience continued growth in the next few years, China is projected to overcome the U.S. as the top business travel market in the world by 2016.”

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HM flew to San Diego with Qantas. The airline flies daily to Los Angeles from Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney operating Airbus A380 and Boeing 747-400 aircraft, connecting to American Airlines flights to San Diego. On Qantas, expect top seats, entertainment, food, wine and service across every cabin. For bookings, visit www.qantas.com

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