Forecast: Global Business Travel Spending to Reach $1.25 Trillion This Year

Global Business Travel Spending

Global business travel spending will hit record levels this year, predicts the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), which yesterday released its annual industry forecast, the "GBTA BTI Outlook - Annual Global Report & Forecast." In it, GBTA predicts a 6.5 percent increase in global business travel spending for 2015, to an all-time high of $1.25 trillion, with sustained growth in 2016 (6.9 percent), 2017 (6 percent), 2018 (6.4 percent), and 2019 (5.8 percent).

According to GBTA, growth is driven mostly by China, where business travel spending will increase by 61 percent over the next five years, from $261 billion in 2014 to $420 billion in 2019. That increase, GBTA indicated, is greater than the increases in business travel growth in the next eight largest countries -- the United States, Germany, India, the United Kingdom, Indonesia, France, Turkey, and Japan -- combined.

"Despite recent economic speedbumps, China will pull away as the global leader in business travel over the next five years," said GBTA Executive Director and COO Michael W. McCormick. "On the horizon, we've identified five nations that are also seeing extraordinary growth and could very well turn into the business travel markets of the future. Another market to watch is India, which is statistically where China was 15 years ago."

Next to China and India -- the latter of which will log an 11.5 percent increase in business travel spending over the next five years, from $26 billion in 2014 to $45 billion in 2019 -- GBTA's five "business travel markets of the future" are Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Poland, and Turkey, all of which report rapidly growing business travel spending.

"The global business travel market is incredibly dynamic, with dozens of countries around the world, such as China, India, and Mexico, growing at a remarkable rate," concluded Brian Triplett, senior vice president, head of commercial product, at Visa Inc., sponsor of GBTA's forecast.

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