India is now the world’s 10th largest business travel market

In its first BTI Outlook for India, the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) revealed that India’s business travel sector has grown considerably in the last 15 years, propelling the country from 24th in the global rankings in 2000 to 10th in 2013.

And the GBTA expects that India will continue to move up the rankings in future, and should overtake Italy to become the ninth largest global market in the next five years.

“This forecast is a very positive sign for the potential of business travel growth in India in the years to come,” said Welf Ebeling, GBTA’s vice president of operations for Asia Pacific. “The recent landslide victory of Narendra Modi… in India’s May elections have renewed optimism for more pro-business reforms and accelerated infrastructure investment.

“Even incremental success in these efforts should eventually spark greater economic and business travel growth,” he added.

The GBTA report said India’s business travel sector is being driven by the domestic market, which accounts for 90% of total business travel spend in the country. Domestic spending is expected to increase 2.2% in 2014, before surging 7.7% next year.

International business travel spending has been “extremely volatile” in recent years, according to the GBTA, and is only expected to gain 1.1% in 2014. But again, this is likely to recover strongly in 2015, with the GBTA predicting a 7% rise “due to renewed strength among India’s major trading partners including China, Europe and the United States”.

The report did note however, that infrastructure continues to present a challenge to India’s growth, including a shortage of “quality” hotel rooms.