Business travel is a driving force behind building new customers and expanding into international markets according to an international report into the role of business travel in today's tourism market.

The report, recently released by the World Travel & Tourism Council and undertaken by Oxford Economics, found a clear relationship between business travel, corporate performance and economic growth, through a survey of business travellers and executives from the US, UK, Germany, Brazil and China.

ATEC Managing Director, Felicia Mariani, said the report Business Travel: A Catalyst for Economic Performance revealed Chinese businesses in particular, valued the opportunity to make face-to-face connections.

Chinese business people prefer face-to-face meetings
"Nine out of ten Chinese executives found face-to-face business meetings were essential to their organisations success and improved their chance of increasing sales," Ms Mariani said.

"This finding has significance for Australian businesses in particular, as almost every industry is looking to China as a booming market for their products.

"The report found a clear relationship between business travel and corporate performance as well as economic growth with business travel not only helping the bottom line, but contributing to the growth in economies, raising incomes and creating jobs."

The report found global corporate productivity yielded a return on investment of 10:1 with one unit of new business travel spending producing ten units of industry sales.

"In a global environment where the value of business travel may be questioned, this report shows just how important it is to have face-to-face contact with potential customers, estimating that around 50% of prospective new customers are converted to new customers with an in-person meeting.

"In fact, more than 1/3 of those surveyed said they thought their customers would switch to a competitor without an in-person meeting."

Other key findings from the report include:

·         Around one third of growth in global trade in the past 10 years has come from international business travel
·         Attendance at trade shows is estimated to generate 15% of annual revenue
·         Executives say 29% of their company's new sales depend on business travel
·         Three quarters of executives believe business travel increases profits, sales, partnerships and innovation

"This report reveals two key issues for the tourism industry; the benefit of business travel to international trade and the value of face-to-face meetings in establishing strong business connections with conversion into sales.

"With Business events travel, a major and high yielding component of our $25 billion tourism industry, Australia has the capacity to benefit significantly from embracing the opportunities the business travel sector brings to the tourism market."

The World Travel & Tourism Council report is available at


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