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Asia’s most expensive cities for business travel

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Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore (joint third), and Seoul (joint third) are now the most expensive Asian locations for business travel, revealed ECA International’s Daily Rates research.

Updated annually, ECA’s Daily Rates reports provide average costs for hotel accommodation, as well as meals, drinks, laundry, taxi transport and daily essentials.

According to the report, the average cost of a business trip to Singapore has increased to USD479 per day, up from USD472 in 2016.

“Although only a small increase, the rise in business travel costs in Singapore reflects a growing trend,” Lee Quane, regional director – Asia for ECA International, observed. He added, the main reason for Singapore’s rise has been the increased cost of eating out in restaurants frequented by business travellers in the city over the past year, while hotel costs have only risen slightly in the past 12 months.

A typical business trip to Tokyo now costs on average USD501 per day, down from USD537 in 2016. While the cost of business travel to Hong Kong (USD508 per day) has remained unchanged from last year.

Although Hong Kong has overtaken Tokyo in the rankings this year to become the most expensive location for business travellers, Quane explained the change is mostly due to the fall of the Yen in USD terms.

ALSO READ: The most expensive cities for expats

On the other end of the spectrum, the cheapest cities in the region continue to be in Malaysia, with Kuala Lumpur (USD206 per day) and Johor Bahru (USD170 per day) remaining at the bottom of the rankings.

“The continued weakness of the Malaysian Ringgit against major currencies has ensured that the cost of business travel in Malaysia is cheaper than elsewhere in Asia,” Quane said, adding the cost of a business trip to Kuala Lumpur is less than half of what it is in Hong Kong.

In other parts of Asia, Thai cities in the survey all saw a slight increase in business travel costs, with Bangkok (USD278 per day) moving into the top 50 for the first time.

Chinese cities have also witnessed an increase in cost for a standard business trip, with Shanghai (USD394 per day) now ranked as the 9th most expensive location for business travel in the region.

Quane said: “Increased prices of goods and services commonly consumed by business travellers has led to the rise of many Chinese cities in our rankings.”

Global ranking

Although Singapore is among the most expensive in Asia, globally, the city state ranks out of the top 40 locations and is significantly cheaper than first-placed New York, where the average business trip costs USD793 per day.

Second in the global rankings, and the most expensive European location for business travel, is Geneva where the average business trip would cost USD720 per day.

Top 10 most expensive business destinations in the world:

  • New York, USA
  • Geneva, Switzerland
  • Zurich, Switzerland
  • Luanda, Angola
  • Bridgetown, Barbados
  • Paris, France
  • Nassau, Bahamas
  • Washington DC, USA
  • Basel, Switzerland
  • Monaco

Photo / 123RF

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