Higher levels of corporate travel into countries in Eastern Europe, Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East indicates corporates are heading to a range of new business hubs to capitalise on economic growth, according to global corporate travel company FCm Travel Solutions.
FCm says travellers from companies working across a variety of industries including mining, manufacturing and the services sector, are travelling to a number of locations outside of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries to scope new opportunities for growth and investment.
Director of FCm’s Latin American and Caribbean network, Maren Hanschke said that while Brazil continued to be one of the region’s fastest growing economies, there had been increasing travel activity into Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Argentina and Chile.
"Aside from Brazil, we’d also regard these five other countries to be emerging hotspots on account of the volume of business travel we’re transacting for clients," Maren said. "Commercial interest in Mexico is booming because of its location, well qualified labour and the reduced costs of labour. Key industries for our clients heading to Mexico include the manufacturing, automotive and assembly industries. Additionally many US companies have supplier facilities in Mexico.
"Increased trade in these industries means for companies like FCm that work with a range of local and multinational companies, we’re seeing higher levels of business travel in and out of Mexico.
"Clients involved in the agricultural, industrial and service sectors are also heading to or travelling within Argentina; Chile and Peru are gaining importance on account of their mining opportunities, while Costa Rica and Peru have high levels of inbound MICE (meetings, incentive, conference and event) travel."
General Manager of FCm’s Middle East and Africa Network Ciarán Kelly, said destinations such as Angola, Ghana and Congo in Africa and Saudi Arabia in the Middle East were now considered to be countries of rising commercial importance for clients.
"FCm recently signed a new partner licensee agreement in Angola in response to demand for travel management services in that region," Ciarán said. "Angola’s oil reserves make it highly attractive to G20 countries and corporations with commercial interests in mining.
"Ghana and Congo in Africa are viewed as rising business hubs while Saudi Arabia in the Middle East is on FCm’s hit-list as a country of high potential for growth and investment."
FCm’s Asia Network Regional Manager Shelby Koh said Bangladesh and Sri Lanka were both upcoming business hubs and rapidly growing corporate travel markets because of the strength of their manufacturing industries.
"Vietnam and Indonesia are also on the radar for being business travel hotspots," Shelby said.
FCm is also investigating partner network opportunities in Myanmar, which Shelby highlighted as an emerging business destination in Asia.
FCm’s Europe Network General Manager Franziskus Bumm said foreign interest in the natural resources industry of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan had put the spotlight on business travel in both of these countries.
"Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan’s supply of natural resources make these countries highly attractive to Western economies. The market in each of these countries is growing quickly, which is why the demand for corporate travel services is also rising," Franziskus said. "Georgia, which is on the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe is also a rising new business hub for corporations."
The increased focus on investment and development within all of these countries has a positive and direct impact on the corporate travel industry, according to FCm.
"While a lot of discussion has been around the activity generated from the BRIC countries we are starting to see growth in business travel bookings to a host of other global locations," Maren Hanschke said. "By looking across our global network at where our clients are booking their travel to, where clients are setting up new offices or operations and what destinations they are asking for local travel management support in, we are able to pinpoint new areas of growth for the industry and for our company," Maren said.
"For companies travelling to these destinations it’s vital they have access to a travel management company with local market expertise as well as global knowledge of carriers and pricing options to ensure their people are getting in and out of these regions safely and cost efficiently."
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