China’s phenomenal increase in its business travel spending since 2000 has set it to be the sector’s dominant global market in the next two years. According to a newly released travel forecast by business travel and meetings association Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), China’s high business travel spending market growth will continue and outpace that of the rest of the world for the foreseeable future.
The travel forecast, titled “GBTA BTI Outlook,” expects China to be a major contributor to a projected record-breaking $1.18 trillion in global business travel spending in 2014, a 6.9 percent increase over the previous year. In a press release, GBTA said that with infrastructure, exports, and service developments, China’s market has grown from $32 billion in 2000 to $225 billion in 2013 with an average growth rate of 16.2 percent each year. This outstrips the United States’ annual growth rate of just 1.1 percent since 2000. China is also expected to grow the fastest of any market—it grew 15.1 percent in 2013 from the previous year, and is expected to maintain its high numbers this year.
Even with China’s slowing economy, GBTA expects it will surpass the United States as the largest business travel market by as early as 2016. The United States accounts for 21 percent of the global market at $274 billion, and China follows closely with 20 percent at $225 billion. The report says that by 2018, the Asia-Pacific region is set to gain another 5 percent of the market share, while the United States and Western Europe are to lose 3 and 2 percent market share respectively.
”This report underscores that China, along with the other BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia and India are leveraging their business travel expenditures into more economic opportunities,” Michael W. McCormick, GBTA’s executive director, said in the press release. “We expect to see this shift in business travel spending to continue.”