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Indian travellers most optimistic

Last updated on: January 24, 2006 13:06 IST

Whether you are a business traveller from New York City, London, Mumbai or Beijing, you have more in common with your flying brethren across the globe than you thought.

Security lines and flight delays top the list as the events that most negatively affect travel. And, the majority of business travellers do not want cellphone usage allowed in-flight. As for travel managers, they say expectations from top management are cost savings and globalisation of the travel programme.

These are among the findings of the Carlson Wagonlit Travel global business travel survey, the 'CWT Business Travel Indicator.'

The survey was commissioned by the travel management leader to gauge attitudes and perceptions of business travellers and corporate travel managers about the current and future state of business travel. The survey randomly sampled opinions of 2,100 business travellers and 650 travel managers, both CWT and non-CWT customers, in 12 countries.

Asia Pacific findings

Results from the Asia Pacific point toward a generally positive outlook for the travel sector in this region in 2006, with Indian travellers being the most optimistic.

In terms of travel experiences that have a negative impact on business travellers, 28 per cent in the region say airport security lines frequently impact them, 23 per cent say flight delays frequently do.

In Australia, India, and Japan flight delays affect 61 per cent of business travellers frequently or occasionally. Chinese business travellers, however, are the most likely to be frequently or occasionally affected by airport security lines, as compared to other travellers in this region.

Booking travel online

In Asia Pacific, Japanese travellers are most comfortable with making their travel bookings online, with 75 per cent of them booking more than 40 per cent of their business travel online. A majority of Australian travellers (55 per cent) also book their business travel online, while their counterparts in China and India do so less often (23 per cent and 17 per cent, respectively).

Travel preferences

When travelling, Asia Pacific business travellers are most likely to be irritated by other passengers. While both the Australians and Japanese are most annoyed by crying babies, the Chinese dislike other travellers not checking-in over-sized luggage, and Indian travellers do not appreciate being disturbed by neighboring passengers.

Similar to results from the other regions, the Middle East tops the list as the region business travellers in Australia, China, and Japan are most hesitant to travel to.

Indian travellers, however, indicated that they are least inclined to travel to Africa. Travellers from all four countries said they were least hesitant to travel to Europe.

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Business travel strong again in 2006

The majority of business travellers and corporate travel managers believe business travel will stay the same or increase in 2006, with travel managers even more optimistic than their travellers. Nearly 60 per cent of travel managers say travel expenditures will increase this year.

Slightly more than 30 per cent of business travellers say they anticipate traveling more, while most (48 per cent) believe they will travel the same amount as last year.

"Business travel is increasing," said Hubert Joly, president and chief executive officer of CWT.

"This is a reflection of strong economic growth around the world and the globalisation of the economy and corporations."

Within the Asia Pacific region, 74 per cent of travellers in India and 45 per cent of travelers in China say their business travel will increase in 2006.

Top priorities for corporations

When asked about the most common expectation from company leadership, the majority (54 per cent) of travel managers answer cost savings, the number-one response across every region.

A global travel program also proves to be a priority for many companies. Sixty-two per cent of travel managers report their companies are uniting travel at some level, whether by undertaking a comprehensive global consolidation (2 per cent), consolidating over a period of time by region (16 per cent), or consolidating piece by piece as the need arises (20 per cent).

Travellers undaunted by state of airlines

The indicator clearly shows frequent travellers are relatively unaffected by the state of some air carriers today, including those experiencing financial instability and labor issues and offering fewer services and amenities.

At the same time, they've resigned themselves to the fact that airline food and beverage service will continue to be limited five years down the road.

Low-cost carriers

66 per cent of business travellers report having used a low-cost carrier at one time or another and 14 per cent of them do so 61-100 per cent of the time. In Asia Pacific, China and Japan do not have low-cost carriers, but in Australia and India combined, 16 per cent of travellers use them for more than 60 per cent of their business travel.