Business fliers in India drew a travel bill of US$29.6 billion (Rs2,01,909 crore) in 2015, making it among the world’s top 10 countries in spending on business travel, said a white paper released in Mumbai on Wednesday. While China topped the list followed by the US, Germany, Japan and the UK, India stood tenth, the report said.
The survey sample accounted for just 5% business travel spends in India based on business travel bookings and expense reporting data of more than 100 corporates and some small businesses from consultancy firm KPMG’s database. FCM Travel Solutions, business travel provider partnered with KPMG in the study.
India has three kinds of business travellers from CEOs shuttling in private jets to junior executives taking economy class flights and budget hotels, said the report, adding that the travel expenditure of such people is set to mushroom over the next decade.
Currently at US$30 billion, collective work-induced travel bills are projected to more than triple to US$93 billion by 2030, it said.
The projections, however, did not take the recent demonetisation into account.
The forecasts were based on spending patterns seen in 2015. “Our long-term projections stay unchanged,” said Rakshit Desai, managing director, Flight Centre Travel Group, India, adding that it was too early to gauge the impact of demonetisation on business travel. “Our trading numbers are unaffected until now. Domestic air ticket prices stayed strong. Only international airfares fell by about 10% but that could be owing to several factors such as crude prices.”
According to the report, in 2015, India recorded a 15% spike in business travel spends which is expected to grow by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12% through 2020 to 6% by 2030. Even if South Korea, Italy and Brazil were to add up their expected growth in business travel spends, India’s graph would still beat them, said the study, adding that 13 years from now the country would be among top five on the list.
“Despite some recent economic speed bumps, the business travel market remains incredibly robust and dynamic with a number of countries such as India, China, Germany and Canada, growing at a remarkable rate,” said Jaideep Ghosh, partner and head of (transport, leisure and sports) with KPMG in India.
Ghosh added that if India’s spending patterns continue for 15 to 20 years, it will surpass the US and be second only to China. “In fact India is statistically where China was close to 15 years back. It is clearly a story that no one is talking about yet, but it bears watching.”
Desai said the paper explains emerging trends and gives a perspective on business travellers today. “This white paper helps analyse the disruptive changes happening today and forecasts how they will impact managed travel processes, the Indian business travellers’ experiences and expectations in the near future.”
The report findings reinstated the increasing nature of work-induced travel bookings happening on the go. According to the paper, travel bookings made from smartphones rose from Rs34 billion in 2009 to Rs109 billion in 2014, recording a 300% growth.