GBTA warns of mismatch in BTMICE rise and infrastructure in Asia

AS Asia-Pacific continues to be a major beacon of growth in global business travel, improvements in infrastructure are vital to keep up with the speed of growth.

According to the Global Business Travel Association’s (GBTA) Business Travel Index outlook report unveiled during the ITB Asia opening press conference yesterday, global business travel spend is expected to reach a record US$1.18 trillion by 2014, a seven per cent growth from last year, with nearly 40 per cent coming from Asia-Pacific.

Infrastructure across Asia, however, is not keeping up with the pace of tourism growth, said Welf Ebeling, GBTA vice president, operations, Asia.

China, which is set to overtake the US as the world’s top business travel market by 2016, is a prime example where infrastructure is still lagging, he said.

“The new 100 airports that are being built (in China) are badly needed in a country that is expected to take delivery of one aircraft per day for the next 19 years,” noted Ebeling in his ITB keynote address.

Likewise for India, Ebeling remarked that the mid-range hotel accommodation is not growing fast enough to match growth. “For example, there are only about 250,000 registered hotel rooms available in India, which has a population of nearly a billion people,” he said.

While these pressing issues are already prevalent in China and India, Ebeling cautioned emerging countries like Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to take heed too.

He said: “The GBTA is expecting that Asia-Pacific will continue to gain another five per cent in the global market share by 2018, and these countries are also showing high growth in terms of business travel spend.”

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