London and New York were the two cities most visited last year by Europeans for intra-European and intercontinental business trips. This is the third year in a row that the two cities have maintained top positions, according to the BCD Travel 2019 Cities & Trends Report, which annually examines business travel volume at global destinations.
France’s yellow vest protests may have affected business travel
Europe’s most mature business travel markets showed little change in rankings. London, Amsterdam, Vienna, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Madrid and Milan all maintained their positions from 2018. Paris and Zurich swapped places, with the French capital dropping to fifth place and the Swiss city rising to fourth. The disruption caused by yellow vest protests in France may have factored in Paris’ decline.
Swedish economy more resilient than German
Stockholm replaced Frankfurt in the top 10 for intra-European business trips last year. Also in 2019, Germany’s economic growth slowed to 0.6% from 1.5% as its export-oriented economy narrowly avoided a recession. The Swedish economy also slowed but proved more resilient.
Beijing slipped from No. 6 to No. 8 as China’s economic growth slowed
Beijing slipped two places from sixth to eighth most popular intercontinental destination. China’s slowing economic growth and the residual effects of the U.S.-China trade disagreements may have weighed on travel by U.S. companies operating out of EMEA.
Airline capacity drives business travel
San Francisco climbed from fifth to third place, pushing Singapore and Dubai down one place each. Airline capacity may be a factor. Over the last year, direct services between EMEA (mainly Europe) and San Francisco increased by 8 percent and available seats by 9 percent. Notable new services included United Airlines (Munich), Norwegian (Barcelona, London and Paris – switching from Oakland to San Francisco), TAP Air Portugal (Lisbon) and El Al (Tel Aviv).
Top 3 business travel countries for European travelers in 2019
The United Kingdom remained the most popular destination country for European business travelers in 2019, followed by Germany and Spain. The United States, China and India kept their leading positions as most visited intercontinental destinations, indicative of strong trade links between Europe and China and India.
About the 2019 Cities & Trends Report
Rankings in BCD Travel’s 2019 Cities & Trend Report are based on airline tickets booked by BCD Travel clients in 2019, 2018 and 2017 in a range of European markets.