by Michael J. Shapiro | March 11, 2015
Early indications show current policies in China will have a positive long-term effect on business travel and the economy, according to a report from the Global Business Travel Association Foundation. The latest BTI Outlook -- China report, released Tuesday, forecasts continued double-digit growth for business travel spend in China both this year and in 2016. GBTA's semiannual analysis projects Chinese-originated business travel will grow by 14.2 percent in 2015, down from the previous projection of 18 percent due to slower economic growth in the country, coupled with continued global economic uncertainty. But the fiscal measures put in place by the Chinese government appear to be effective, encouraging consumerism, avoiding rapid increases in inflation and keeping local government debt in check, notes the report.

The forecast calls for additional growth of 12 percent in 2016, reaching US$334 billion. "While this is slower growth for China, it is all relative," said Michael W. McCormick, GBTA executive director and COO. "There is simply no other market to compare China to as their economic engine continues to move forward at a phenomenal pace, producing double-digit business travel spending growth. Whether China becomes the world's largest business travel market at the end of 2016 or the beginning of 2017 does not matter -- what matters is that economic policies being set are showing signs of having a long-term positive impact on the economy, which points to a healthy business travel industry for years to come." Because both business and leisure travel growth are so robust, demand growth continues to exceed supply growth in every class of hotel, according to the report.