Business travel in India is gaining momentum and expected to grow 18.3 per cent in 2024 on the back of rising corporate incomes and foreign direct investment, according to Global Business Travel Association (GBTA).

In 2023 Indian companies are estimated to have spent $ 32.3 billion on business trips, meetings, conferences and events. While business travel spend in India rose 24.7 per cent last year it lagged behind other major countries in Asia Pacific (APAC).

Business travel spend includes transportation; accommodation; food and beverage; visa costs; in trip retail, and this is based on spend originating from India so will include expenditure that is incurred overseas by Indian business travellers.

“India is expected to fully recover to its pre-Covid business travel spend in 2025. In 2027 India is expected to reach 120 per cent of its pre-Covid business travel spend,” said Catherine Logan, regional vice president, GBTA. The India outlook was released at FCM corporate travel summit in Mumbai on Tuesday.

India accounts for an estimated 5.7 per cent of business travel spend in APAC and is currently the fourth largest business travel market in the region after China, Japan and South Korea. Globally India is the ninth largest business travel market.

While business environment in North Asia remains bit of a challenge, FCM Travel sees huge opportunities in India and South East Asia in FY 2025, travel firm’s Asia managing director Bertrand Saillet said.

“India has continued to perform strongly, with a significant increase in revenue, in both our core businesses - corporate travel, and Meetings & events.,” said FCM India managing director Sunny Sodhi.

“This is driven by India’s strong economy, our strategic decisions to consolidate and focus on our core business offerings, investments in technology, and leveraging global business solutions to increase automation, operational efficiencies, and productivity,” he added.