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GBTA Research Explains The Premium Traveler in Developing Countries


Alexandria, VA (July 12, 2012) – A plurality of premium travelers from developing countries around the world say they have taken more international trips in the past twelve months and expect to take even more over the next twelve months, according to new research released today by the Global Business Travel Association Foundation, the education and research arm of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). The new report, “2012 Premium Business Traveler Study”, sponsored by Boeing, surveyed 1,784 premium travelers from ten developing countries in four regions around the world.

The study divided ten “developing” countries into four categories:

  • Latin America (Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Mexico)
  • Eastern Europe (Russia)
  • Middle East (Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates)
  • Asia (India)

A plurality of travelers (40%) said they took more international trips in the past twelve months than in previous years, compared to 32% who say they’ve taken less. Interestingly, when looking ahead to the next twelve months, travelers expect to fly in a premium class of service more often than in the past twelve months (48%).

According to the study, with all else being equal, more than seven in ten (72%) would select one airline over another due to availability of Wi-Fi. The availability of AC power (59%) and cell phone capabilities (54%) are also fairly strong motivators.

“With the global economy still struggling, we decided it made sense to focus this year’s premium travel study on countries that are still experiencing rapid growth,” said Joseph Bates, senior director of Research at GBTA Foundation. “As the business travel landscape becomes more global, airlines, hotels and all other travel suppliers must be ready to serve the needs of this influx of customers from developing countries and we hope this study can serve as a useful planning tool.”

"We are delighted to partner with the GBTA Foundation on this independent research to identify flying preferences by global travelers," said Jeff Cacy, managing director of Boeing's Airline Marketing Services.  "The data gathered gives airlines' visibility to trends and needs based directly on passenger feedback.  This benefits our airline customers and flyers worldwide."


Over sixty percent (64%) of travelers indicate their international flight choices are governed by their company’s travel policy. Of that group, majorities report that both airline/alliance (63%) and seating class (62%) are regulated by their company’s policy as well. Travelers also reported that their company’s travel policies were “enforced” or “strongly enforced”, although these varied by region. Eastern Europeans suggested their company’s travel policies are not as strongly enforced as the other regions, particularly Asians who suggested their company’s policies are strongly enforced.

Travelers were asked to rank on a scale of one to five how strongly are your company’s travel policies enforced?


Latin America

Eastern Europe

Middle East


Choice of Seating Class





Choice of Airline/Alliance






This study also debunks a popular myth – that the vast majority of premium travel is for business purposes. When considering all international, long haul flights travelers have taken over the past twelve months, a majority were for business only (34%) or for business and leisure (24%).  However, a large minority of these trips (42%) were for leisure only. Eastern European premium travelers took significantly more leisure trips (55%) than Middle Eastern (40%) or Latin American (43%) travelers and far more than Asian travelers (30%).

About the GBTA Foundation The GBTA Foundation is the education and research foundation of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), the world’s premier business travel and corporate meetings organization. Collectively, GBTA’s 5,000-plus members manage over $340 billion of global business travel and meetings expenditures annually. GBTA provides its network of 17,000 business and government travel and meetings managers, as well as travel service providers, with networking events, news, education & professional development, research, and advocacy. The foundation was established in 1997 to support GBTA’s members and the industry as a whole. As the leading education and research foundation in the business travel industry, the GBTA Foundation seeks to fund initiatives to advance the business travel profession. The GBTA Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. For more information, see gbta.org and gbta.org/foundation.

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