Tech innovations to drive business travel growth

The business travel sector is set to grow by 3.7% per year worldwide over the next decade, according to a new report by Travelport and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

Released at the WTTC Global Summit in Bangkok, the report shows that growth is expected to be driven by emerging markets, with the Asia-Pacific leading the way at a predicted rate of 6.2% each year to 2027.

The largest business travel markets at present are the USA, China, the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan.

The report highlights a top ten list of countries with the strongest forecast annual business travel growth including:

In Asia, China leading the way with 9.5% annual growth to 2027, followed by Myanmar (8.7%), Hong Kong (8%), Cambodia (7.4%) and India (7.2%)

Rwanda and Gabon (both 8.5%) leading in Africa with Tanzania at 7.9%.

In the past five years Business Travel spending has advanced rapidly in many emerging markets with the DR Congo rising by 32% between 2011-2016,Qatar at 25%, Azerbaijan at 21%, and Mozambique at 19% over the same period.  The report highlights data which shows that eight of the top twenty fastest growing business travel destinations have introduced visa improvements which helps sector growth and economic growth.

The report identifies a number of factors influencing such growth. Business travel is often the driving force in the overall growth in contribution of travel and tourism to national GDP as companies continue to find ways to develop new markets and maximize their revenues. Countries emerging from conflict such as Sudan, Sri Lanka, Angola and Rwanda also feature highly on this list, highlighting the link between peace and economic development.

The report furthermore explores the increasing use of technology supporting travelers and travel companies. Travelport research highlights how business travelers want mobile phone alerts and information about disruptions, flight updates and upgrades. It also draws attention to the need to serve digitally-connected millennials and for the industry to deploy data-driven insights to engage customers more effectively.

The report incorporates White Paper proposals underlining the need for investment in technology and infrastructure, the removal of visa burdens, tackling cyber security and personalizing services for travelers.

The CEO of Travelport, Gordon Wilson, commented: “Every day we see business travel growing at a significant rate in many emerging markets with technology playing an in increasingly important role in easing the way for those on trips for their work. As an industry we need to continue to invest in the best technologies and infrastructure whilst governments need to be more business-friendly by removing burdensome visa requirements.”

David Scowsill, President & CEO, WTTC, said: “Travel & Tourism generates USD$7.6 trillion in GDP and supports over 292 million jobs. Business travel is a vital part of the sector, and it is a key catalyst for global growth. It drives the relationships, investments, supply chains and logistics that support international trade flows.”

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