Vienna was the most visited European city for business travelers from Belgium in 2018, whereas London dropped to fifth place. The United States remains the most important destination for intercontinental flights. Business travelers from Luxembourg still fly most often to London, but Vienna is on the rise. These are some results of the annual BCD Travel Cities & Trends Report.
Belgium: Why is London not on top of the list anymore?
Compared to last year, 25% less Belgian business travelers visited London, causing the city to drop from first to fifth place.
“The political concerns about Brexit are likely to play a role in this decline, although there may also be a practical cause for it,” says Jean-François De Mol, Senior Director Sales EMEA at BCD Travel. “In the middle of last year, the popular and fast flight connection between Antwerp and London disappeared. As a result, many passengers switched to the train for their business trips to London. But with the establishment of Air Antwerp, the popular route will probably be offered again in the autumn of 2019, so we expect a possible revival in 2020. By then there will also be more insight into the impact of Brexit.”
Copenhagen’s booming tech sector
Vienna and Copenhagen, are doing well as popular business travel destinations. Newcomer Copenhagen joins the list in fourth place, likely due to the city’s technology sector and rising reputation as a vibrant startup hub. The booming tech sector is a probable reason for this. Two of the 11 European unicorns, startups worth more than $1 billion, are also Danish. Vienna is the biggest climber with a growth of 37% and climbs from fourth to first place. The Austrian economy showed a strong growth in 2018 of 2.7%, which is likely to be reflected in business travel demand to the country, to which airlines are responding with increased flights.
The intercontinental top three cities don’t change much: New York remains the most important destination despite a slight decrease. Singapore increases by 20% and remains in second place. Shanghai (+24%) and Chicago (+11%) are also rising fast, which moves them into the top five on fourth and fifth place.
Luxembourg business travelers flock to Vienna
The top five of European cities for Luxembourg business travelers don’t change much. Despite the uncertainty created by Brexit, London remains the most important city for Luxembourg business travelers. It is remarkable that Vienna climbs from fifth to third place for Luxembourg travelers.
Romania new in Luxembourg’s top 10
Romania enters the top 10 European countries with remarkably good figures and in ninth place. Romania has one of the strongest growing economies in the European Union (EU) and many entrepreneurs do business there because of its strategic location at the Black Sea, its highly skilled workforce and its low labor costs. France climbs to the eighth place, causing the Netherlands to drop to 10th place and Portugal to disappear out of the top 10.
Among the intercontinental business travel destinations, the United States remains in first place, although New York is declining in popularity from second to fifth place. Travelers are instead increasingly flying to South Africa, Jordan and Kenya. As companies are generally investing less in China as it rebalances its economy and growth slows, the biggest loss goes to China which disappears out of the top 10.
European Cities & Trends
In March, BCD also published a ranking with the most important destinations for European business travelers, based on airline tickets booked by BCD clients in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.