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

2017 2018 2019
1. London London London
2. Vienna Amsterdam Amsterdam
3. Amsterdam Vienna Vienna
4. Zurich Paris Zurich
5. Paris Zurich Paris
6. Barcelona Barcelona Barcelona
7. Copenhagen Copenhagen Copenhagen
8. Milan Madrid Madrid
9. Madrid Milan Milan
10. Frankfurt Frankfurt Stockholm

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

2017 2018 2019
1. New York New York New York
2. Shanghai Shanghai Shanghai
3. Dubai Singapore San Francisco
4. Singapore Dubai Singapore
5. Beijing San Francisco Dubai
6. San Francisco Beijing Chicago
7. Tokyo Chicago Tokyo
8. Chicago Tokyo Beijing
9. Boston Boston Boston
10. Los Angeles Los Angeles Los 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

Intra-European Intercontinental
1. United Kingdom United States
2. Germany China
3. Spain India

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 make the most of what they spend on travel. We give travelers innovative tools that keep them safe and productive, and help them make good choices on the road. We partner with travel and procurement leaders to simplify the complexities of business travel, drive savings and satisfaction, and move whole companies toward their goals. In short, we help our clients travel smart and achieve more. We make this happen in 109 countries with a global client retention rate of 98%, the highest in the industry. For more information, visit www.bcdtravel.com.

About BCD Group

BCD Group is a market leader in the travel industry. The privately-owned company was founded in 1975 by John Fentener van Vlissingen and consists of BCD Travel (global corporate travel management and its subsidiary BCD Meetings & Events, global meetings and events agency), Park ‘N Fly (off-airport parking) and Airtrade (consolidation and fulfillment). For more information, visit www.bcdgroup.com.