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Hong Kong named Asia’s most expensive city for business travel

The average business trip to Hong Kong costs US$515 per day.

For a second successive year, Hong Kong has been ranked the most expensive location in Asia for business travel, according to ECA International.

According to ECA’s latest Daily Rates report, the average business trip to Hong Kong costs a total of US$515 per day, including hotel costs of US$286.

“Hong Kong has always been one of the most expensive Asian locations to visit on business, due to the combination of a high cost of goods and services, and expensive hotel prices,” Lee Quane, regional director – Asia at ECA International, says.

“However, in recent years we have seen Hong Kong pull away slightly from other expensive locations such as Tokyo, Seoul and Singapore, and this year has been no different with Hong Kong now costing 4% more than Tokyo and 8% more than Seoul in second and third places, respectively.”

ECA’s annual Daily Rates reports provide average costs for hotel accommodation, which makes up the bulk of any daily allowance, as well as meals, drinks, laundry, taxi transport and daily essentials.

Tokyo remains second in the Asia rankings, with the typical business trip now costing US$494 a day. Seoul is in third place based on the overall price of a business trip. However, if hotel costs are excluded, then the Korean capital moves above Tokyo into second place.

“We expect to see the costs of business travel to Tokyo to increase over the next 12 months due the city hosting major events such as the Rugby World Cup, Olympic and Paralympic games between now and the end of 2020,” Quane says.

“Together with the city’s emergence as a major tourist destination in recent years and a shortage of suitable accommodation, hotel costs are high and recent regulatory changes which reduce the availability of other short-term accommodation options such as Airbnb are likely to drive a further increase in accommodation costs in the coming year.”

He adds: “The fact that Seoul moves to second in the rankings when excluding hotel costs shows that the price of food, drinks, and other incidentals is actually higher than Tokyo.

“This is a trend we see in many locations, where the hotel cost can inflate the overall figure, and it demonstrates the importance of looking at all aspects of a business trip, and not necessarily just the combined cost.”

Singapore is ranked fourth most expensive, where a typical business trio costs US$468 per day.

“The cost of a business trip to Singapore has stayed relatively static due to the steady level of international business travel to the country,” Quane explains. “However, the price of a hotel room has dropped slightly, down to US$249 per night from US$256 last year.”

In China, the most expensive business trip destination is Shanghai, at US$378 per day.

Quane says: “Although a business trip to Shanghai would be relatively expensive compared to other Chinese cities, Shanghai is outside of the top ten most expensive locations in Asia for business travel, and outside of the top 100 globally”.

However, when looking at the total price excluding hotels, Chinese cities are all much higher placed in the rankings.

The cheapest location in ECA’s rankings is Johor Bahru in Malaysia, where a business trip would cost just US$184 per day, and hotel costs would account for just US$83.