For years Americans have led the world in business travel spending. That is about to change.
With China's economy surging, business travel spending from the world's most populous country is expected to jump 14% in 2013 and 17% next year, according to the Global Business Travel Assn., the trade group for corporate travel managers.
China is expected to surpass the U.S. as the world's largest business travel market by 2016.
About 95% of that business travel traffic will stay in Asia, with trips to South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong ranking as the top destinations. The GBTA estimates that the U.S. will be No. 8 on the list of top destinations for Chinese business travelers.
And with the growth in travel from China, Beijing Capital International Airport is expected next year to surpass Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport as the world's busiest airport.
"As China's economy continues to grow, so does their expected demand for business travel," said Tad Fordyce, head of global solutions for Visa Inc.
The demand for air travel from China is expected to grow so fast in the next few years that several of China's airports have had to double or triple their capacity and the nation plans to build about 100 new airports over the next decade, said Joe Bates, vice president of research at GBTA.
"The real question is can they keep up with the demand," he said.