China is expected to surpass the U.S. on business travel spending by 2015. (Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles…)
Americans have long held the title of the world’s biggest spenders when it comes to business travel. But China is expected to overtake the U.S. by 2015.
That’s one of the findings of a study by the Global Business Travel Assn., a trade group for the world’s business travel managers.
U.S. businesses spent an estimated $250 billion on business travel in 2011, while Chinese businesses spent $182 billion, according to the study.
But the study predicts that Chinese business travel spending will surge by 17% in 2012 to $202 billion and 21% in 2013 to $245 billion. The spending growth rate will be fast enough to surpass the U.S. in the next three years, the study said.
China has set the table for the growth. Over the last 10 years the country’s four largest airports have doubled in size, and the government has plans to build nearly 100 new airports in the next 10 years, according to the study.
“We forecast significant increases in business travel by Chinese citizens over the next two years, with a least two-thirds of the growth being real increases in trips and spending, as opposed to rising travel prices,” said Michael McCormick, executive director of the Global Business Travel group.
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