Why India is Poised to Become a World Leader in Business Travel for Decades to Come

Today, the GBTA Foundation released its semi-annual business travel forecast for India. The report, sponsored by Visa Inc., showed the continuation of dramatic business travel growth for the region. For the second straight time, we upgraded our forecast projecting India’s total business travel spend to grow 9.8 percent in 2015 and 10.9 percent in 2016 – the first year of double-digit spending gains since 2011.


The region is growing strongly in the short-term and also in an excellent position for the long-term. If India continues on its current growth path, it will become a world leader in business travel in the decades to come.

Here are five key takeaways from the report:

  • The consumer sector has been trending upward for most of the past two years. An advancing middle class, steady job creation, rising incomes and a post-election boost to consumer confidence that the World Bank has deemed “the Modi dividend” have helped to advance spending.
  • India’s GDP grew 7.5 percent during the fourth quarter of 2014 resulting in annual growth of 7.4 percent over 2013. Another strong piece of economic news is the trend reversal and moderation of inflation during 2014. Down from a year-over-year high of more than 11 percent in November of 2013, consumer inflation fell to a low of 4.4 percent just one year later.
  • GBTA forecasts domestic business travel to hit double digit growth in 2015 and 2016 growing 10.1 percent and 11.3 percent respectively.
  • International outbound (IOB) travel from India is much more volatile and slower growth in China has put downward pressure on the growth of Indian IOB over the last few years. GBTA expects IOB spending to grow 7.9 percent in 2015 and 7.3 percent in 2016.
  • Infrastructure presents a challenge for India, but Prime Minister Modi has made the development of the country’s infrastructure a cornerstone of public policy. India has also announced a new tourism policy will be launched in May that will likely focus on various issues including tourism infrastructure.