The National Business Travel Association (NBTA) and Egencia have released a sample of findings from a study that quantifies global business travel spending and projects business travel growth through 2013.
Evaluating 72 countries, the study shows that business travel growth patterns vary dramatically across the globe, with North America advancing at an average rate of just over 2 percent per year for the last decade, Western Europe growing 4.6 percent annually and Asia-Pacific advancing by 7.2 percent annually over the same period. Emerging Europe and the Middle East/Africa region advanced annually by 12.4 percent and 7.7 percent, respectively, from 1998 to 2008.
The study predicts that growth of business travel in China and Japan will exceed U.S. growth over the next five years. In addition, developing nations, like 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,” said Rob Greyber, president of Egencia. “Over the next five years, we’ll see countries like India and China grow at rates of 5.3 and 6.5 percent respectively, versus the U.S. projected growth rate of 0.3 percent.”
The study finds that the North America, Western Europe and Asia Pacific regions each represent about 30 percent of the global business travel market (90 percent combined), estimated to total $929 billion in 2008. This figure includes both domestic and outbound international travel. The remaining 10 percent of global activity takes place in Latin America, Emerging Europe and the Middle East and Africa. The United States represents the largest piece of global business travel spend with $261 billion or 28 percent of the world total, followed by China at 10 percent and Japan at 8 percent.
Business travel spend has increased by more than 35 percent since 1998, with the United States as the global leader in business travel spend. But in the next five year, Asia Pacific is poised for substantial growth, while U.S. growth is expected to stagnate. China’s spend, at $93.8 billion in 2008, has tripled over the past 10 years and is expected to lead market growth between 2008 and 2013, followed by Japan and South Korea. Measured in terms of the dollar increase in business travel spending, the United States is expected to be fourth in terms of growth, just behind India.
The study also examined business travel by industry sector. The highest growth industries for business travel globally include utilities, food processing and services, real estate, social and personal services, and professional and business services. 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) will experience the most significant growth in business travel spend.
The full study, conducted by IHS Global Insight, will include a complete profile of U.S. business travelers, as well as a comprehensive forecast of U.S. and global business travel activity, and will be released in a few weeks.