China will overtake the United States to become the world's largest business travel market in 2015, according to a survey released today.
Annual expenditure among mainland business travelers will total 36.5 billion yuan (US$5.88b)by then, predicts the report from global accommodation company Hotel Reservation Service (HRS).
Business travel expenditure has been increasing dramatically on the Chinese mainland in recent years.
It increased by more than 20 percent on year to 24.5 billion yuan in 2012 and will rise more quickly this year, Tobias Ragge, Chief Executive Officer of HRS told the Global Corporate Travel Forum in Shanghai.
More than 43 percent of corporations on the mainland plan to increase the frequency and budget for business travel this year, driven mostly by business and trade developments within China, according to the survey released at the forum.
Some 80 percent of the cash is spent on flight tickets and accommodation, with the remainder going on entertainment and communications, the survey said.
"Shanghai will become a major destination for business travel with the opening of Disneyland in 2015 and many state-owned enterprises establishing headquarters in the city," Chen Ping, a senior official with the Shanghai Tourism Administration told the forum.
Chen said Shanghai has 230 international direct flights and all the world's major hotel groups have hotels in the city to meet business traveler demand.
Executives from the Chinese mainland are one of the most frequent travelers in the Asia-Pacific region, making 17 trips on average each year, according to a previous survey.
For overseas trips, Hong Kong remained the most popular destination for Chinese mainland business travelers, followed by Singapore and Thailand.
In terms of accommodation, the survey found hotel loyalty programs were the most influential factor for Chinese mainland travelers.
It is predicted that online travel will increasing penetrate the business travel market, said Ragge.
More than 100 corporate executives and travel industry experts from around the world participated in the forum that ends tomorrow.