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US continues to dominate long-haul business travel

The US continues to be the most important business travel market for the UK, according to figures from the GTMC.

Data from GTMC members showed that UK-US flight bookings outnumbered travel to the world’s fastest-growing economies by more than four times during 2015.

The research also found that the number of business travel bookings to the world’s 13 fastest-growing countries was equivalent to only 1.5 per cent of all travel to the seven largest economies (US, China, Japan, Germany, France, India and Italy).

Paul Wait, CEO of the GTMC, said: “It isn’t surprising the flights taken by business travellers from the UK are focused on stable and established economies, however it is concerning that travel to emerging destinations is so comparatively low when it comes to future planning.

“The GTMC is behind the swift approval of UK airport expansion in order to allow more flights to more emerging economies. This is clearly needed to allow businesses to grow and expand in the markets around the world with the most potential.” 

Business travel to emerging markets is dominated by destinations in Asia, despite World Bank figures showing that the majority (69 per cent) of the fastest-growing economies are in the Middle East and Africa.

Heathrow is the main airport for travel to emerging markets accounting for 78 per cent of trips to these countries.

“The popular flight routes from Heathrow for business travellers are heavily biased towards the US,” added Wait. “

“More needs to be done to aid businesses looking to explore and export to the fastest-growing economies of the world.”

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