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Amsterdam and New York named top business travel cities

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Amsterdam was the top short-haul destination for European business travellers in 2023, with New York being the number one long-haul city.

The TMC’s data showed that spending on business travel in Europe reached 96 per cent of pre-Covid levels in 2023. This echoed other similarly positive reports from industry organisations including the GBTA, which said that corporate travel was “riding a wave of momentum” in early 2024.

Figures from BCD showed that Western Europe was leading the way in the sector’s recovery with the rest of the continent recovering more slowly, partly due to the impact of the ongoing war in Ukraine, which is now into its third year.

The most visited European business destinations in 2023 were Amsterdam, London, Frankfurt, Munich and Paris. While the US dominated the list of the top intercontinental cities for European travellers led by New York and Chicago – Dubai was the only non-US city in the top eight long-haul destinations.

Germany was the most visited country in 2023 for intra-European travel displacing the UK, which had been in top spot in 2019. The Netherlands was in third place followed by France and Italy.

Michèle Lawley, BCD’s president of Europe, added: “Risks like geopolitics and rising crime, new sustainability legislation and remote work continue to impact business travel volumes and where travel budgets are directed to.”

London-New York was the most travelled intercontinental route last year ahead of Frankfurt-Chicago and Frankfurt-New York. London-Los Angeles and London-Chicago rounded out the list of the top five long-haul routes from Europe.

BCD’s data showed that around half (47 per cent) of European business travellers booked business class on intercontinental flights, with 42 per cent travelling economy and 10 per cent flying in premium economy. 

For those travelling in the opposite direction, slightly more US travellers booked business class (53 per cent) than their European counterparts and consequently fewer US-based passengers flew in economy (36 per cent) when heading across the Atlantic.

Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of flights within Europe were direct services (84 per cent), although this was very different for long-haul journeys with 49 per cent of these trips involving a connection.

“The chosen service class, type of flight and even the route have a direct effect on CO2 emissions,” added Lawley. “For example, direct flights offer a shorter route and use less fuel on landing and take-off than connecting flights. By analysing their emissions data, companies can hone in on what behaviours or policies they want to influence or change to support smart and purposeful travel.” 

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