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Report: Business Travel in China Could Top U.S. by 2016

According to a new study by the Global Business Travel Association, China’s business travel market is seeing double-digit growth year after year. And although the travel industry is going through dynamic changes in the region, the growth is expected to continue.

According to a new study by the Global Business Travel Association, China’s business travel market is seeing double-digit growth year after year. And although the travel industry is going through dynamic changes in the region, the growth is expected to continue.

China’s status as an emerging economic power could soon unseat the U.S. on the world stage—at least on the business travel front.

That’s according to new research by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) on the country’s travel industry. More details:

Double-digit growth: According to Rockport Analytics’ research, sponsored by Visa and commissioned by GBTA, business travel spending in China is expected to increase to $224 billion in 2013, a 14.3 percent jump. Next year, the growth is expected to further accelerate to 17.2 percent—more than twice the rate of U.S. growth. If that rate keeps up, China could overtake the U.S. by 2016. “As China’s economy continues to grow, so does their expected demand for business travel,” Visa’s Head of Global Commercial Solutions, Tad Fordyce, said in a press release.

What’s driving the growth? While international travel both in and out of the country continues to grow, domestic travel spending is increasing at a higher rate, the report states. The study signifies that China, one of the five fast-growing BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa), is gaining status as an event hub. Outbound travel, although growing more slowly than domestic and inbound travel, nonetheless is seeing double-digit growth.

An incumbent could fall: One side effect of the trend is that the world’s busiest airport, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International, could become the second-busiest as soon as next year. The Beijing Capital International Airport, a major hub linking travelers to the rest of Asia, is expected to replace it.

For associations with an international presence, how is China’s economic growth and emerging status as a business travel hub driving your strategy? Let us know in the comments below.

The Beijing Capital International Airport, shown, is expected to soon become the world's busiest airport. (photo by alexbrn/Flickr)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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