United States remains one of the most popular countries for business travel from India, with seven US cities listed in the top ten destinations outside of Asia-Pacific, according to data from American Express Global Business Travel (GBT).
Strong links between India’s technology and engineering sectors and the US appear to be driving an increase in business travel to San Francisco and New York which have both overtaken Singapore to move to second and third most popular respectively, behind London.
Encompassing all air bookings made directly with GBT for India-based travellers between June 2016 to May 2017, the travel destinations report provides a snapshot of business travel flows within, and from India. Delhi remains the top destination for domestic business travel while London remains the number one destination for international business travel.
London, New York and San Francisco dominate the top three destinations for international business travel outside of Asia-Pacific, as well as overall. Seemingly reflective of softening business sentiment locally, Singapore has dropped from number two to number four in annual rankings. The rise of New York and San Francisco in India’s business travel rankings appears to be a result of growing links between India and the US’s technology and engineering industries.
“This is a hugely exciting time for India from a business travel perspective. India is progressing up the international value chain and has expanded from traditional outsourcing to advanced technology and product development, alongside many other areas of business. It is widely thought that India produces the most engineers in the world and they are of high value to many nations who need large scale support,” says Elyes Mrad, Managing Director, International, American Express Global Business Travel .
“Many Indian companies are growing internationally, acquiring companies and creating jobs. The nation’s thriving start-up culture is driving many innovative technologies. This is evident in Silicon Valley, where entrepreneurs of Indian origin now make up a significant percentage of the community.”
Delhi remains the focus
Delhi is India’s National Capital Region and has grown from its role as India’s political hub to also being a key corporate hub for the country. Mumbai remains the nation’s key financial district, with many financial services and professional services firms having regional headquarters there. Bangalore is a leading technology hub, while Chennai maintains strong business travel traffic as a car manufacturing hub. Lucknow, at twelfth in the rankings, did not make the top ten however the introduction of special economic zones for IT companies and the development of a major business park will likely see Lucknow rise in domestic rankings in the future.
US cities remain favoured
The top international destinations for India’s business travellers are driven largely by the technology sector, even in London and New York, where tech travel flows are now stronger than financial services.
Singapore has fallen from second to fourth in the rankings, and this is not particularly surprising. Despite Singapore being a regional hub for many multinational companies, the market has softened in recent years, and credit supply from Singapore’s banks has also dropped.
India and US ties strengthen
Seven of the top ten destinations for India’s business travellers outside of APAC are US cities, and US dominance is likely to continue. Despite changes in US immigration regulations, Indian travel to the US for business will likely remain strong, particularly in outsourcing and IT, where skilled Indian workers in high demand.
About American Express Global Business Travel
American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) equips companies of all sizes with the insights, tools, services and expertise they need to keep their travelers informed, focused and productive while on the road. With approximately 12,000 employees and operations in nearly 120 countries worldwide, GBT empowers customers to take control of their travel programs, optimizing the return on their travel and meetings investments, while, more importantly, providing extraordinary traveler care.
American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) is a joint venture that is not wholly owned by American Express Company or any of its subsidiaries (American Express). “American Express Global Business Travel,” “American Express,” and the American Express logo are trademarks of American Express and are used under limited license.