A report from the Global Business Travel Association shows that the amount spent on business travel in China could surpass U.S. spending by 2015. According to CNN Money, business travel spending in China hit $225 billion in 2014, 23 percent of the $1.1 trillion global total spent. This is not far behind the U.S., which spent $274 billion last year.
The increased pace of China's spending was also outlined in the report, with business travel spending up 16 percent on average every year since 2000, where the U.S. increases 1 percent per year. This is alongside China's double-digit economic growth, which the country has been experiencing for decades.
Michael McCormick, executive director of the GBTA, told Reuters that Asia constitutes 30 percent of the business travel market, while North America represents 21 percent and Western Europe represents 24 percent. "The overall economy (in China) continues to grow," McCormick told Reuters. "It's the sheer multiplier effect that it has because there is double-digit growth in such a large market."
The report also found that recoveries in the business travel market are likely to raise airfares and average hotel rates, though airfare increases should be mild if oil prices also remain stable.
For all this expansion, the GBTA says China's growth could possibly slow due in part to spending restrictions put in place as part of an anti-corruption campaign targeted at the country's government, according to KSPR. Despite this, the group predicts 13 percent annual growth over the next five years. Much of this potential stems from China's per capita business travel spending, which is still under $200 -- well beneath United States' $800 average.