A detailed examination of the robust growth in the global business travel sector, with a spotlight on Asia Pacific’s significant role and projections.
The recent GBTA Business Travel Index™ Outlook report signals an unprecedented and swift resurgence in global business travel. The report, a collaboration between the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) and Visa, indicates a burgeoning growth surpassing pre-pandemic figures. The global business travel industry, pegged at $1.4 trillion before the pandemic, is anticipated to accelerate past this figure by 2024 and burgeon to nearly $1.8 trillion by 2027.
In 2022 alone, the industry observed a substantial 47% surge, with the total global business travel spending reaching $1.03 trillion. This upswing is a testament to the pent-up demand post-COVID, improved global economic conditions during 2022 and 2023, and the dodging of recession risks. Remarkably, a 32% growth is forecasted for 2023.
A spotlight on regional specifics highlights that the Asia Pacific region, particularly China, faced setbacks in 2022. The delayed reopening of the Chinese economy culminated in a 4.6% dip in business travel spending. This shift momentarily demoted China to the #2 spot in global business travel markets – a position it hadn’t held since 2014. Nevertheless, projections are positive. By the end of 2023, China is poised to reclaim its crown as the #1 business travel market globally.
The aforementioned global figures stem from the 2023 GBTA Business Travel Index™ Outlook – a comprehensive annual forecast covering 72 countries across 44 industries. The 15th edition of this report delves deep into forecasted global business travel spendings and trends for the period 2023 to 2027.
The current report also introduces insights from a vast survey spanning 4,700 business travelers from five global regions. Findings from this survey include average business trip spending, which currently stands at $1,018 per individual. Interestingly, 62% of these travelers blend business and leisure travel, a notable increase from 2019.
While the upswing is universally promising, it’s essential to address looming challenges. Factors such as the ongoing war in Ukraine, inflation in specific zones, tighter global financial conditions, and a declining manufacturing sector present potential hurdles. Furthermore, sustainability initiatives, widespread adoption of meeting technologies, the surge in the remote workforce, and the growth of blended travel can pivot the future trajectory of business travel.
However, the underlying sentiment, as iterated by Suzanne Neufang, CEO of GBTA, is undeniably optimistic. She stated, “The BTI data reflects the remarkable efforts of the industry to adapt, innovate and thrive despite challenges.” As digital payments continue to gain prominence in this landscape, facilitating global transactions, it’s evident that the future of business travel, especially in the Asia Pacific region, is on an upward trajectory.
Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.