Business travellers turning to Singapore
The region's business travellers are increasingly heading to Singapore rather than Hong Kong as the mainland economy slows and opportunities open up in Southeast Asia.
That's according to a survey conducted by hotel operator Accor last month that polled 2,586 business travellers from nine Asian economies. Travellers from eight of them said Singapore was among their top three destinations in the first half of this year, while those from five said the city-state was their first choice.
Business travellers from only three countries put Hong Kong among their top three destinations.
In the same survey conducted last year, respondents from six of the eight countries polled said Hong Kong was among their top three destinations, while those from seven put Singapore in the top three.
Evan Lewis, Accor's vice-president of communications, said the shift could have been caused by a slowdown in the mainland economy. 'China was still the focus of growth last year, but India, Indonesia and Thailand are catching up quickly.'
Lewis would not hazard a guess on whether Hong Kong may rise in the rankings next year, with economists widely expecting the mainland economy to regain pace. But he said business movements were closely tied to economic changes.
While China's economic growth is expected to slow to 8.6 per cent this year from 8.9 per cent, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand are expected to see their growth rising between 0.2 and 1.1 percentage point, according to HSBC data.
The survey also found an increase in business activities this year, with the average number of business trips of respondents rising to 10 during the first six months - up from six for the same period last year. It found business travellers from Hong Kong were the most hard-working among their regional peers, with 14 per cent of respondents saying they worked in their hotel rooms between midnight and 6am. The average was 5 per cent from the other places.
This proportion of Hongkongers polled said that, when on business trips, they work in their hotel rooms between midnight and 6am