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Business travel: China makes comeback among Germans' top destinations

Neu-Isenburg, April 27, 2023

Corporate payment specialist AirPlus International reveals the most important travel trends in the AirPlus Business Travel Index.

Just a few months after China opened its borders, business travel is making a comeback: In the first three months of the year, China was the third most popular long-haul destination for German business travelers, with most China-bound travelers flying to Shanghai. This is shown by an analysis of the transactions for airline tickets processed via AirPlus. Last year, China had slipped to 30th place in the long-distance ranking, after the country had usually occupied second place behind the USA prior to the Corona pandemic.

While the U.S. retained its top ranking in the first quarter of the year, India was able to defend its second-place position. In recent years, the country has been steadily gaining ground as a business travel destination after ranking fifth in 2019.

Trips are being booked earlier

Overall, spending by German companies on air tickets increased by 120 percent between January and March compared with the same period last year. What is striking is that bookings took place earlier than last year, on average 27.6 days before travel. After bookings had been made at very short notice during the pandemic, the advance booking period had recently almost normalized to the pre-Corona value of around 24 days. The longer periods now indicate that companies want to secure the scarcer flight capacities early on.

Ticket prices show mixed development

Ticket prices recently showed a mixed trend: While business class tickets became almost four percent more expensive at the start of the year compared to the previous three months, costing an average of 3687 euros, prices for economy tickets, on the other hand, fell by four percent to 500 euros.

Fewer domestic flights

Another trend continued: German companies took fewer domestic flights. As in the previous year, only one in three travelers flew between German airports, compared with one in two in 2019.

This development is an indication that companies are increasingly looking for sustainability in business travel.

About AirPlus International:

AirPlus International is a leading international provider of corporate payment solutions. 53,000 corporate customers rely on AirPlus for the payment and evaluation of their business trips and other purchasing services. The products and services are marketed worldwide under the AirPlus International brand. AirPlus is an issuer of the UATP and Mastercard card schemes. The AirPlus Company Account is the most successful billing account within the UATP. For more information, visit

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