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Where are Business Travelers Going?

London and New York remain top business travel destinations for U.S. business travelers in new Cities & Trends Report

No matter what the direction or outcome for Brexit, U.S. business travelers remain undaunted about flying to London. The U.K. capital shows up as the leading international destination for U.S. business travelers, according to a report by global travel management company BCD Travel.

London topped the list of most-frequented international cities for American business travelers in 2018 in BCD Travel’s “2018 Cities & Trends Report.” The report’s rankings are based on ticketed flights booked by BCD Travel clients in 2018 and 2017 in a range of international markets.

Other top five cities for U.S. business travelers included Frankfurt, Tokyo, Paris and Amsterdam. New York City topped the list of domestic destinations in the U.S. for business travelers, followed by Chicago, Dallas, Washington, D.C. and Atlanta.

Year over year, Dublin experienced the highest growth rate as a destination for U.S. business travelers, among the top destinations. Dublin secured the number nine spot on the list of top 10 cities while surpassing Sao Paulo and nudging Singapore off the list.

Craig Bailey, President, Americas at BCD Travel, said, “The continuity in the list of top domestic and international cities for U.S. business travelers between 2017 and 2018 shows the importance of these markets as both national and global business and economic centers. Overall, the picture painted by the report is one of a growing global economy in 2018.”

Top 10 cities for U.S. domestic business travel in 2018 compared to 2017

2017 2018

1. New York New York

2.Chicago Chicago

3. Dallas Dallas

4. Washington Washington

5. Atlanta Atlanta

6. Los Angeles Los Angeles

7. Boston Boston

8. San Francisco San Francisco

9. Denver Denver

10. Orlando Orlando

Frankfurt and Tokyo followed top city London as U.S. business travelers’ second- and third-most frequent destinations for international trips. European cities account for seven out of the 10 leading international destinations for U.S. business travelers.

The strongest increase in booking volume between 2017 and 2018 was Dublin, with nearly 30% more tickets sold year over year. The increase is likely a result of increased investment by American businesses into Ireland and vice versa, with large, global companies such as Google, Accenture and Facebook establishing European or international headquarters in Dublin over the past several years.

Another advantage of Dublin as a European gateway city is the airport’s U.S. Customs Pre-clearance operations, which enable travelers departing Dublin for the U.S. to clear immigration and customs inspections before boarding the plane rather than upon arrival. Dublin and Shannon are the only two European airports that currently offer this service.

A second international destination, Amsterdam, also experienced a surge of 14% in 2017, although the change did not impact the city’s overall ranking on the 2018 list.

The top 10 list includes two cities in the Asia-Pacific region: Tokyo and Shanghai. Both China and Japan are top U.S. trade partners, with China listed as number one and Japan listed as number four on the U.S. Census Bureau’s total trade list for 2018. Despite political tensions over trade with China last year, Shanghai experienced a year over year increase in bookings of 17%.

Top 10 cities for international business travel in 2018 compared to 2017

2017 2018

1. London London

2. Frankfurt Frankfurt

3. Tokyo Tokyo

4. Paris Paris

5. Amsterdam Amsterdam

6.S hanghai Shanghai

7. Munich Munich

8. Zurich Zurich

9. Sao Paulo Dublin

10. Singapore Sao Paulo

The United Kingdom remained the most popular destination country for U.S. business travelers in 2018, followed by Germany and Japan. The unchanged results year over year again reflect the strong trading links between the U.S. and the UK, Germany and Japan. All three top countries fall within the top five on the U.S. Census Bureau’s total trade list for 2018.

Top Three business travel countries in 2018 compared to 2017

2017 2018

1. United Kingdom United Kingdom

2. Germany Germany

3. Japan Japan