Meltdown aftermath: Businesses may go for cheap air travel and hotels
ASIAN businesses could reduce their spending on hotels, flights and other travel expenses by as much as 20 per cent this year to cut costs amid the global downturn, a leading travel company said today. Paris-based Carlson Wagonlit Travel says its corporate customers operating in Asia are expected to spend between 15 per cent and 20 per cent less in 2009 compared to 2008. Last year’s spending totalled around $3bn (£2.1bn), the company said. Worldwide, travel spending by its clients is expected to decline 10-15 per cent, the firm predicts. The decline reflects the efforts among many companies to slash costs in the face of one of the worst economic slowdowns in decades. A number of businesses have already started conducting meetings via video and web conferencing rather than face to face. Others are bumping down flight bookings in business class and first class to economy. “If they were previously staying at five-star hotels they may stay at the four-star hotel,” said Martin Warner, the company’s chief operating officer in Asia. “Whatever standard they’re at, they’re looking if they can downgrade it one level.” India will likely see Asia’s biggest drop in corporate travel spending, falling 25 per cent this year compared to 2008, Warner said. The company forecasts about a 10 per cent softening in spending in China.
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