Singapore is the fifth most expensive location for business travel – behind Hong Kong, Dhaka, Seoul and Tokyo respectively, in ECA International's latest Daily Rates research, that studies business trip costs such as accommodation, meals, drinks, laundry, taxi fares, and other day-to-day necessities.

Singapore’s regional rival, Hong Kong, has secured most expensive spot, given the higher-than-Singapore costs of not just a typical meal out, but primarily driven by hotel accommodation - four-star hotel accommodation in Singapore is 20% lower than in Hong Kong.

On the other end of the spectrum, Kuala Lumpur is the cheapest location in Asia Pacific for business travel, while Bangkok, Phnom Penh and Bandar Seri Begawan are the only other capital cities ranked within the top 10 cheapest locations for business travel in Asia.

Lee Quane, regional director – Asia for ECA International, explained: "A combination of generally low living costs, relatively cheap accommodation options for business travellers and weak currency against the USD have contributed to these locations being where they are in our rankings."

The most expensive cities for business travel in Asia Pacific:

  1. Hong Kong, HKSAR
  2. Dhaka, Bangladesh
  3. Seoul, Republic of Korea
  4. Tokyo, Japan
  5. Singapore, Singapore
  6. Busan, Republic of Korea,
  7. Macau, Macau
  8. Sydney, Australia
  9. Shanghai, China
  10. Perth, Australia
For organisations that are able to provide lower-cost accommodation options to employees travelling for business, ECA International studies the rankings with hotel costs excluded as well.

When hotel costs are excluded, the most expensive locations in Asia for business travel are - Seoul, Tokyo, Sydney, Singapore, and Shanghai respectively in the top five.

Dhaka moves down to the 24th most expensive location in the region when hotel rates are excluded, while Hong Kong also falls to 8th position.

Quane commented on the reasons for the order of ranking: "Seoul and Tokyo’s high rankings are a reflection of the general high cost of goods and services in these two cities, combined with the fact that language issues may limit business travellers in terms of their choices for meals out."

Once hotel costs are excluded, the cheapest locations in Asia Pacific for business travellers are - Karachi, Islamabad, Kathmandu and Ulaanbaatar, with costs in Karachi approximately one third of those incurred by business travellers in Seoul.



Lead photo / 123RF