BCD Travel 2019 Cities & Trends Report: London and New York remain top business travel destinations for European business travelers

Utrecht, Netherlands, 25 February 2020 – According to the BCD Travel 2019 Cities & Trends Report London and New York remain the most-visited cities for European business travelers in 2019.

As a mature business travel market, it’s unsurprising to see little change in the composition and rankings among Europe’s top 10 cities. London, Amsterdam, Vienna, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Madrid and Milan all retained their 2018 rankings in 2019. There were just two positional changes: Paris and Zurich swapped places, with the French capital dropping down to 5th and the Swiss city rising to 4th – the disruption caused by the yellow vest protests in France may have been a factor in the decline in Parisian fortunes.

Furthermore, Frankfurt dropped out of the top 10 to be replaced by Stockholm – this could reflect Germany’s economic performance in 2019. Economic growth slowed in 2019 to just 0.6% from 1.5% as Germany’s export-oriented economy narrowly avoided a recession. While its growth has also slowed, the Swedish economy has proved to be more resilient.

Top 10 cities for Intra-European business travel


There was a little more movement among the intercontinental destinations, although the list of cities within the top 10 rankings remained the same, and New York and Shanghai held onto the top two places. Three cities moved up the rankings: San Francisco (+2), Chicago (+1), Tokyo (+1); with Beijing (-2), Dubai (-1) and Singapore (-1) moving down.

San Francisco moved up from 5th to 3rd place, pushing Singapore and Dubai down one place each in the process. Airline capacity may be a factor: Over the last year, direct services between EMEA (mainly Europe) and San Francisco increased by 8% and available seats by 9%.

Beijing slipped down two places from 6th to 8th. This might be due to the slowdown in China’s economic growth and the residual effects of the U.S.-China trade war, which may have weighed on travel by U.S. companies operating out of EMEA.

Top 10 cities for intercontinental business travel

1.New YorkNew YorkNew York
3.DubaiSingaporeSan Francisco
5.BeijingSan FranciscoDubai
6.San FranciscoBeijingChicago
10.Los AngelesLos AngelesLos Angeles

The United Kingdom (U.K.) remained the most popular destination country for European business travelers in 2019, followed by Germany and Spain. The United States (U.S.), China and India kept their leading positions as most visited intercontinental destinations. This indicates the strong trading links between Europe and the growing economy of China, as well as India.

Top 3 business travel countries in 2019

1.United KingdomUnited States

The rankings of the BCD Travel 2019 Cities & Trends Report can be found here.

About the report
Business travel can be an indicator of economic growth: when business travel volumes rise or fall in a certain area, it tells something about the local economy. With the launch of its latest “Cities & Trends Report,” BCD Travel, one of the leading travel management companies worldwide, provides insights about European business travelers. These rankings are based on flight tickets booked by BCD Travel clients in 2019, 2018 and 2017 in a range of European markets. Furthermore, BCD Travel will soon publish “Cities & Trends Reports” with individual rankings for Benelux, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States.

About BCD Travel

BCD Travel helps companies travel smart and achieve more. We drive program adoption, cost savings and talent retention through digital experiences that simplify business travel. Our 15,000+ dedicated team members service clients in 170+ countries as we shape a sustainable future for business travel. BCD’s leading meetings and events management and global consultancy services complete our comprehensive suite of solutions for all aspects of corporate travel. In 2023, BCD achieved US$20.3 billion in sales. For more information, visit www.bcdtravel.com.