More firms set to beef up travel budgets

Updated 2017-10-18 10:01:55 China Daily

Along with rising business confidence, as many as 31 percent of Chinese companies expect to increase their travel budgets over the next 12 months, surging from the 17 percent of respondents that predicted budget increases last year, a survey showed.

The 2017 China Business Travel Survey was published by the CITS (China International Travel Service) American Express Global Business Travel on Tuesday. It revealed that 40 percent of the polled organizations planned to expand their budgets to tap into the opportunities presented by the Belt and Road Initiative.

China became the country with the largest business travel expenditure of 7 billion in the world after overtaking the United States in 2016.

The survey indicated that 75 percent of China's business travel spending was made domestically, but Tan Haoling, vice-president of CITS American Express Global Business Travel, said they have also noticed the trend that many Chinese companies are looking outward for opportunities in global commerce.

"China's Belt and Road Initiative could benefit Chinese organizations with an international travel program (43 percent of companies), as well as those with a regional program (21 percent of companies)," said Tan.

The survey also highlighted the importance of business travel as a key driver of revenue for many Chinese organizations, with 90 percent reporting that increased client-facing travel would likely increase revenue, and 53 percent of the respondents believed an increase in client-related travel would improve overall revenue by between 10 percent and 20 percent.

"The research tells us Chinese companies believe there are savings to be identified within their current travel budgets, and that many intend to put measures in place to realize some of these savings next year," said Tan, who added inflexible travel policies (30 percent) and complex reimbursement processes (23 percent) are the top two complaints for business travelers.

The barometer is an annual report detailing the status of, as well as forecasts for, China business travel. This year's report surveyed executives from 150 companies in China, in a variety of enterprises in major Chinese cities.

CITS American Express Business Travel is a joint venture between American Express and CITS.

A white paper on China's business travel by Ctrip, China's largest online travel platform, published earlier this year, projected China's market will continue to see double-digit growth this year.

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