China Business Travel Is Surging

The Chinese market likely will surpass the United States by 2016

While the recent growth of Chi­na's business travel market has been slower than anticipated, according to the Global Business Travel Association, the nation remains on pace to eclipse the United States as the world's dominant travel market by 2016.

According to the BTI Outlook-China 2013 H2 Re­port and its U.S. equivalent, conducted by Rockport Ana­lytics and released by GBTA this past October, China's business travel market is expected to grow by 14.3 percent this year, to US$224 billion, and by 17.2 percent in 2014, to US$262.5 billion.

The U.S., by comparison, is expecting just a 2.9 percent increase this year, to $269.5 billion, and a 7.2 percent increase in 2014, to $288.8 billion.

Interestingly, 96 percent of China's burgeoning business travel market is domestic. "Diminished trade activity, particularly in Europe and North America, has undermined demand for long-haul business travel," noted GBTA Asia regional director Welf J. Ebeling, above. "We do, however, see annual growth pushing back to [a previous level of] 20 percent sometime in 2014."

As a result of China's surge, Beijing Capital International Air­port is expected to surpass Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta as the world's busiest within the next few years.