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Hong Kong tops Asia for cost of business travel

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According to an annual report from HR consultancy ECA International, Hong Kong has emerged as the region’s most expensive city for business travel.

Hong Kong topped the list with a daily cost of US$515. It was measured by factoring in costs relating to accommodation, meals, drinks, laundry, taxi transport and daily expenses. It excludes air fares.

Tokyo came in second with a daily cost of $494, followed by Seoul at $477 per diem, with Singapore coming in fourth at $468. Macau came in 10th at $380 – 26% lower than Hong Kong.

Hong Kong’s high cost of business travel was largely attributed to the cost of hotels – which came in at an average rate of $286 per day for a four-star hotel.

“In recent years we have seen Hong Kong pull away slightly from other expensive locations such as Tokyo, Seoul and Singapore, with Hong Kong now costing 4% more than Tokyo and 8% more than Seoul,” said Lee Quane, regional director (Asia) at ECA International.

However, he tips it is possible Tokyo may supplant Hong Kong in 2020 as the Japanese capital hosts two significant sports events – the Rugby World Cup and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. This is likely to push the cost of short-term accommodation up, for example, at Airbnb.

In Mainland China, the most expensive business trip destination is Shanghai at $378 per day.

“Although a business trip to Shanghai would be relatively expensive compared to other Chinese cities, Shanghai is outside of the top ten most expensive locations in Asia for business travel,” Quane said.

Of the Asian cities surveyed, Johor Bahru in Malaysia came in cheapest at $184. When asked if this could prompt businesses to locate employees in Malaysia when on assignment in Singapore (given the close proximity) as a cost-saving measure, he told Human Resources: “Yes, for business travel,” drawing parallels to how an assignee could be based in Shenzhen but work in Hong Kong.

Although he added, “the visa issue” and “commute times” could act as deterrents.

Globally, New York topped the rankings with exorbitant daily business costs of $799.

“New York tops the rankings for another year as the price of business travel continues to grow. New York is now over $80 more expensive per day than the second placed city in the rankings, Geneva, as the high demand for hotels means that rates can continue to be charged at a premium – with the cost of a hotel stay making up a huge $512 of the daily total.”

Hong Kong ranked 19th overall on the global scale of expensive cities for business travel.



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