Bangkok business travel cost up
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Bangkok business travel cost up

Bangkok has breached the top 50 most expensive locations in Asia for business travel for the first time, according to a survey from human resources firm ECA International.

The average business trip to the capital costs US$278 (8,678 baht) a day. All Thai cities included in ECA's most recent survey saw a slight increase in business travel costs.

ECA's daily rate reports provide average costs for hotel accommodation, which makes up the bulk of any daily allowance, as well as meals, drinks, laundry, taxi transport and daily essentials.

Hong Kong is the most expensive location for business travellers, surpassing Tokyo, which dropped to second.

"Although Hong Kong has overtaken Tokyo in the rankings, this change is mostly because of the overall price of business travel in Japan decreasing in dollar terms after the yen fell in value over the course of 2017," said Lee Quane, ECA's Asia director. "The cost of business travel in Hong Kong has remained unchanged from last year, with the typical business trip costing $508 per day on average."

Singapore jointly ranks third with Seoul. The average cost of a business trip to Singapore increased to $479 per day in 2017, compared with $472 in 2016.

"Although only a small increase, the rise in business travel costs in Singapore reflects a growing trend," Mr Quane said. "Hotel costs have risen slightly in the past 12 months, but 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."

Meanwhile, the cheapest region for international business travel continues to be Malaysia, with Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru 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," Mr Quane said. "Indonesia, Thailand, Brunei and Cambodia have cities which rank among the cheapest in the region for business travel, but the cost of a business trip to Kuala Lumpur is less than half of what it is in Hong Kong."

China rising

Chinese cities have seen an increase in costs for a standard business trip, according to the reports, with Shanghai ranking as the ninth most expensive location for business travel in the region.

"Chinese cities have become costlier for business travellers in the past 12 months," Mr Quane said. "Despite the increase, Shanghai is still $100 per day less expensive on average than Hong Kong or Tokyo."

Although Singapore is one of Asia's most expensive locations for business travel, it ranks outside of the top 40 locations globally, significantly cheaper than first-place New York, where the average business trip costs $793 per day.

"New York tops the rankings as the most expensive location for business travel due to the high cost of hotels and travel, as well as mandatory 15-20% tipping policies during meals out," Mr Quane said. "High demand for hotels especially means rates can be charged at a premium, and this is reflected in the average cost of a stay at a four-star hotel, which stands at a huge $509 per night."

Second in the global rankings, and the most expensive European location for business travel, is Geneva, where the average business trip would cost $720 per day.

"Swiss cities have always been expensive locations for business travel, and 2017 was no different as the Swiss franc has continued to perform very strongly," Mr Quane said. "On top of this, Switzerland has long been considered a major financial and banking hub and will remain so for the foreseeable future, meaning that business travel to Swiss locations will keep on being a necessity."

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