Hong Kong retains its place as the most expensive business destination in Asia

According to a new report, Hong Kong is the most expensive place in Asia for business travelers.

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Hong Kong has been named the most expensive location in Asia for business travelers for the second year in a row, according to a new report.

ECA International’s latest Daily Rates study ranks countries according to short-trip expenses: four-star hotel rooms, meals, laundry, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, taxi fares and incidental expenses.

The study is designed to help organizations anticipate the cost of business travel and short-term assignments, according to the data company.

A business trip today costs an average of US$520 per day in Hong Kong, which is also the 16th most expensive business travel destination in the world.

The most expensive business travel locations in AsiaDestinationDaily costs $520 $515 $424 $392 $380 $376 $372 $371 $350 $349

This is despite low demand from business travelers as Hong Kong has closely followed mainland China’s strict zero-Covid policy. It wasn’t until late 2022 that it began easing some of its restrictions.

“Hotel costs continue to account for a large portion of the total cost of business travel, and room rates advertised despite lower occupancy rates in 2022 [in Hong Kong] not fallen significantly,” Lee Quane, ECA International’s Asia regional director, told CNBC.

“This may have been due to demand from local residents, while hotel properties may also have had to maintain their room rates to cover additional costs associated with maintaining services during the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The report is based on information collected in 2022 from 457 sites in over 190 countries, ECA International said.

Singapore moved up one spot in ECA International’s rankings, overtaking Tokyo to become Asia’s second most expensive city for business travellers.

It is also ranked 19th worldwide.

A business trip to Singapore now costs an average of $515 per day – $34 more than a year ago, according to ECA International.

It attributed the rising costs in Singapore to the “early lifting of travel restrictions” compared to other locations in Asia, which sparked rising demand for trips to the city.

“The resulting increase in demand helped drive up the cost of hotel accommodations, while the cost of other basic necessities … also rose faster than other locations in the region,” Quane said.

Tokyo, which fell from second to third most expensive city in Asia, also saw daily business traveler expenses rise by 5% in local currency.

“[However,] They were offset by the depreciation of the yen against the US dollar, causing several cities across Japan to fall from this year’s rankings,” said Quane.

“At an average daily cost of $424 per day [in Tokyo]Business trips to the city are now almost 20% cheaper than first-place Hong Kong.”

Inflation in many places in Asia has contributed to a significant increase in business travel costs in local currency terms, ECA International said.

Sri Lanka, Laos and Pakistan saw the biggest increases in spending on travelers, the report said.

For example, according to the report, business travel spending in Colombo, Sri Lanka, was 75% higher in local currency than a year earlier.

“This is primarily due to high inflation and currency devaluation, as some business travel-related expenses…of foreign business travelers here are typically in US dollars.”

But not all Asian destinations experienced the same increase in travel expenses.

Popular tourist destinations, for example, saw “relatively little change” in travel costs over the past year, ECA International said.

“Cities like Pattaya and Chiang Mai in Thailand, and Denpasar in Indonesia all saw low growth rates in local currency terms of between 1% and 3% in 2022,” Quane said.

That’s because lower demand in these destinations — compared to pre-pandemic levels — has pushed hotel prices down.

“Even a tourist hub like Bangkok, which normally receives many business travelers, saw only a modest 4% increase in business travel expenses,” Quane added.

In contrast, Singapore saw daily business travel expenses increase by 10% in local currency.

For another year, New York earned the dubious honor of being the most expensive place in the world for business travelers.

According to the report, the average daily cost of a business trip in New York is now $796.

Most Expensive Business Travel Destinations WorldwideDestinationDaily costs $796 $700 $658 $641 $609 $595 $584 $583 $564 $557

Travel expenses have “recovered strongly” in New York over the past year, thanks to a “post-pandemic surge” in demand for business travel and tourism, Quane said.

Coupled with “inflation-driven price increases on goods” commonly consumed by business travelers, travel expenses rose a strong 8%, he added.

Other US cities also dominated the global top 10 list, such as Washington DC, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Three European destinations made the list, with Switzerland remaining home to the region’s two most expensive cities for business travel.


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