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Outlook for business travel expenditures in the BRIC countries through 2019

Not surprising, business travel expenditure projections for the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) directly reflect each country’s economic strength or stability. Thus, travel spending in China and India is expected to grow at double-digit rates during the next two-to-three years. In contrast, the outlook for business travel economic activity in Brazil and Russia is poor, as both countries face growing economic turbulence and, in the case of Brazil, political upheaval as well.


Despite recent economic turmoil, the size and scope of the Chinese economy continue to drive business travel spending in China—it’s projected to grow just over 10 percent in 2016. This will be another good year in the period from 2014 to 2019, during which travel expenditures are expected to grow more than 60 percent. China no doubt will soon surpass the U.S. as the global leader in business travel destination spending—as of this time, it accounts for roughly 20 percent of global total.


While India already is the tenth largest business travel market, these expenditures are expected to increase by an average of 11.5 percent annually over the next three years, reaching $45 billion by 2019. This growth reflects India’s improved business climate, strong consumer confidence, a revival in investment and lower energy prices. In the long term, India will likely be a top-five business travel market by 2030.


Business travel spending in Brazil will rebound slightly from declines in 2015, with an anticipated one percent expansion in 2016 to $31.7 billion. However, continued economic challenges—high unemployment, a slowdown in consumer spending and the effects of the devaluation of the Brazilian Real—will continue to inhibit significant business travel expansion in the short term.


Business travel expenditures in Russia will struggle to recover from precipitous declines in 2015 (17 percent) and 2016, driven in part by the collapse of oil prices and the imposition of international sanctions.

Key Takeaways:

  • Economic growth and political stability are key drivers for business travel expenditures in the BRIC countries
  • International business travel activity is on the rise in China and India but is stagnant, or even in decline, in Brazil and Russia