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Tokyo Blues – It’s Becoming Really Expensive

It seem as if every traveler loves Japan these days and Tokyo takes the lead. But this enthusiasm comes at a cost… it’s getting very expensive to visit Tokyo. In fact it’s now the most expensive business travel destination in Asia Pacific according to a recent study by latest Daily Rates research published by ECA International. Here are the highlights of the research.

  • Hong Kong falls from regional top spot last year to second place
  • Tokyo rises from fourth place to top Asia Pacific regional rankings this year
  • A typical business trip in Hong Kong costs seven per cent more than in Singapore and five per cent less than in Tokyo

“Over the last year, the cost of four-star hotel accommodation in Hong Kong has fallen by around six per cent,” said Lee Quane, Regional Director – Asia for ECA International. “Declines in tourism and business travel to the city, factors associated with the current regional economic malaise, are the main drivers behind this fall. They are producing lower occupancy rates, forcing hoteliers in the city to reduce prices from the previous year.”

Updated annually, ECA’s 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. This information is used by companies to determine daily expense allowances for staff who undertake business travel. 

The total cost of a typical business trip to Hong Kong, excluding travel to and from the city, is  $508 USD per day on average.

“Costs commonly incurred during business trips include accommodation, transport, meals and day-to-day necessities,” advised Quane. “Looking at four-star hotel accommodation, Tokyo is the only location with higher rates than Hong Kong. The appreciation of the Japanese yen, in which all business travel costs in Tokyo are incurred, relative to the USD, has led to Tokyo taking first place in the region this year.”

Hong Kong’s regional rival, Singapore, is in fourth position in this year’s regional rankings. While the cost of a typical meal out and incidental expenditure are more expensive in Singapore, higher costs associated with hotel accommodation in Hong Kong (13 per cent higher) contribute to its ranking as the second-most expensive location in Asia Pacific to undertake a business trip.

Shanghai has fallen in this year’s regional rankings to 15th position. The Chinese yuan has depreciated against the US dollar over the past year contributing to Shanghai’s cheaper rates in USD terms. Beijing follows in 25th position with rates seven per cent lower than Shanghai, largely due to average four-star hotel rates in Shanghai being significantly higher than in Beijing. However, hotel rates in Shanghai are still 32 per cent cheaper than Hong Kong’s.

The cheapest location in the Asia Pacific region for business travel is Johor Bahru. Kuala Lumpur is the only capital city ranked within the top-ten cheapest locations for business travel in Asia. “Hotel accommodation rates have been depressed in the past 12 months owing to the impact of the fall in oil and gas prices on the Malaysian economy and subsequent reduction in business travel to and within the country,” said Quane. “This has been further accentuated by the continued depreciation of MYR versus USD to leave business-travel costs in Malaysia low in comparison to elsewhere in the region.”

Here’s an overview of costs to travel for business around the world.