Kathakali has been a journalist for a decade and a half, working previously with The Telegraph and Times of India. An MA in political science and a Chevening Fellow, she writes on various themes--the business of sports, pop culture, startups, innovation--and co-produces the video series, From the Field. She is also part of the desk, editing, rewriting and putting the print edition to bed. Kathakali is a sports nut and collects autographs as a hobby. She enjoys travelling and music, and you'll often find her humming completely out of tune.
A downcast economy isn’t changing India Inc’s business travel plans. At $22.1 billion, India became the 10th biggest business travel spender in the world in 2012, and the market is expected to grow at 13 percent till 2017, reaching $40 billion.
According to a report by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), a premier business travel management group, this growth almost equals China’s, despite India starting off later, and with a smaller base.
“In India, the per-person spend might have dropped in the wake of rupee depreciation, but as long as you are a company trying to sell a product, you have to travel. Also, a country needs to boost its exports to tide over a depreciating currency, so travel for business is a must,” said Welf Ebeling, vice president, operations (Asia), GBTA.
Although 91 percent of business travel in India is domestic, the increase in 2012 was in domestic and foreign sectors. Foreign outbound is likely to rise, said Ebeling, once the global economy recovers.
The software boom gave business travel its launchpad, but it is now propelled by agriculture, transportation and construction sectors.