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US Tops Business Travel Spending, but Not for Long

The United States ranks the highest in total annual business travel spending, according to a report released Tuesday. But another country is hot on our heels.

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China is forecast to surpass the U.S. in business travel spending in two years by 2014 — one year earlier than the GBTA previously forecast.

And as another comparison, growth rates for U.S. business travel are expected to be one-third of China's growth rate in the near future. So what's fueling China's travel boom?

The key contributors to China's growth in business travel include rising manufacturing output, trade growth, job gains and more infrastructure investments, according to the report.

While business-travel growth rates in China slowed this year compared to previous years due to lower demand for exports and worries about the European financial crisis, the GBTA predicts growth rates for 2013 and 2014 will rebound. From 2000 to 2011, China's total domestic and international outbound business travel spending grew 16.5 percent annually.

This year, total business travel in China is predicted to grow by 12.5 percent to $195 billion, followed by another 14.7 percent gain in 2013.

In the U.S. version of the Business Travel Index report GBTA released on October 8, total U.S. business travel spending is forecast to grow 2.6 percent for 2012, and 4.9 percent for 2013.

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