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Tech firms driving business travel out of India

LiveMint logoLiveMint 10-08-2017 Tarun Shukla

New Delhi: Indian IT companies may be facing American headwinds, but business travel from India to the US is only growing, driven by tech companies, according to American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) data.

Strong links between India’s technology and engineering sectors and the US appear to be driving an increase in business travel to San Francisco and New York. The two American cities have overtaken Singapore to move to second and third place respectively in the list of most popular destinations from India. London tops the list, drawn up on the basis of air bookings made directly with American Express for India-based travellers between June 2016 to May 2017, the report released on Thursday said.

The top ten cities are: London, New York, San Francisco, Singapore, Amsterdam, Seattle, Dubai, Chicago, Bangkok and Hong Kong. Boston, Dallas and Los Angeles—three more American cities—were the other hot destinations.

The top international destinations for India’s business travellers are driven largely by the technology sector, with tech travel flows now stronger than financial services, it noted.

“India is progressing up the international value chain and has expanded from traditional outsourcing to advanced technology and product development, alongside many other areas of business,” Elyes Mrad, managing director, International, American Express Global Business Travel said in the report.

“Many Indian companies are growing internationally, acquiring companies and creating jobs. The nation’s thriving start-up culture is driving many innovative technologies.”

Despite a tightening of US immigration regulation, Indian travel to the US for business will likely remain strong, particularly in outsourcing and IT, where skilled Indian workers are in high demand, the report added.

Within India, Delhi topped the chart and has grown from its role as India’s political hub to also being a key corporate hub. Mumbai remains the nation’s key financial district, with many financial services and professional services firms having regional headquarters there.

Bangalore is a leading technology hub, while Chennai maintains strong business travel traffic as a car manufacturing centre.

Airlines from India have increased frequencies over the past decade to the US to tap growing traffic.

Air India flies non stop to Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Washington and will launch flights to Los Angeles at the end of the year.

Jet Airways too flies to US cities via its hub in Europe while many other passengers take one stop flights on Middle Eastern, European and South East Asian airlines to the US.

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