In The News: China Business Travel

Hello all! Although the recent re-election of one very high profile Governor in New Jersey, two closely watched races of the new Virginia Governor and the New York City mayor, and the much scrutinized ObamaCare rollout have dominated the headlines… the big story in our industry has been China.

We have received unprecedented news coverage lately about China’s business travel growth, and in particular that they are poised to surpass the United States as the world’s largest business travel market by 2016. Here is a sampling of this coverage (as prepared by our ever-diligent public relations lead, Colleen Lerro):

Hugo Martin of the Los Angeles Times wrote:

“As China’s economy continues to grow, so does their expected demand for business travel,” said Tad Fordyce, head of global solutions for Visa Inc.

The demand for air travel from China is expected to grow so fast in the next few years that several of China’s airports have had to double or triple their capacity, and the nation plans to build about 100 new airports over the next decade, said Joe Bates, vice president of research at GBTA.

Bloomberg Business Week reported:

Meanwhile, although less in the media spotlight, the market for domestic business travel in China is also growing quickly. According to a new forecast by the Global Business Travel Association, annual business travel spending within China is expected to reach $224 billion this year—up 14.3 percent from 2012.

And in the Miami Herald:

For years Americans have led the world in business travel spending. That is about to change.

The same story was told in many more publications including, AOL’s Gadling blog, Associations Now, Meetings & Conventions, Travel News Digest and more.


All of these stories were driven by GBTA’s latest China BTI report. Twice a year, GBTA looks at economic trends and business spending to see where the business travel industry in China is headed. Some of the key findings:

  • Despite weaker than expected business travel growth in H1 of 2013, China should surpass the U.S. as the world’s most dominant business travel market as early as 2016.
  • China’s total business travel spending is forecast to increase by 14.3% in 2013 to $224 billion (RMB1,371 billion). The projected expansion of 17.2% in 2014 is more than twice the rate of the U.S.
  • Domestic business travel continues to outperform international outbound (IOB). In 2013, domestic travel spend should grow 14.3%, followed by another 17.2% in 2014.
  • Beijing Capital International airport is set to surpass longstanding incumbent, Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta, as the world’s busiest airport.

China is growing its business travel market faster than any other nation, and continues to close the gap on the U.S. as the largest business travel economy in the world. The surge in Chinese business travel spend has been driven by domestic and international outbound business travel, with expansion noted for both transient and group meetings and events travel.

(Want more details on this report? The GBTA BTI™ Outlook – China is free of charge to all GBTA Members by clicking here. Non-members may purchase the report through the GBTA Foundation by emailing Paul Yachnes. If you missed our latest quarterly US BTI report, you can also check that out here.)