South America and China top travel destination wish-list

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30 December 2012

Cities in South American and China top the list of direct routes business leaders need from Heathrow airport.

The Guild of Travel Management Companies (GTMC) has identified the top 10 most important destinations business travellers say will underpin economic growth and should be the primary focus of any short-term capacity boost at Heathrow.

The findings reveal sharp demand for access to South American and Chinese cities, with Shenzen topping the table, followed by Brasilia and Santiago in second and third place. Those interviewed agreed links to China were perceived to be the absolute key to business growth, with 53.2 per cent identifying Chinese markets as their priority for increased connectivity.

Business travellers were asked which destinations they viewed as key to their business’ growth and the list was selected from this and analysis of travel management companies’ ‘round-trip’ sales to growth economies.

The routes have been identified ahead of the publication of the report by Sir Howard Davies examining airport capacity. The final report will be published in the summer of 2015. The GTMC is calling for immediate capacity to be released for both take-offs and landings at Heathrow and for the government to insist these 10 key business routes are serviced from that new capacity.

Ajaya Sodha, GTMC chairman, said: “Any discussion about increasing airport capacity in the south east hinges on its link to growth. It is business travellers that ‘do the deals’ – that will mean more exports, investment and jobs for the UK economy – and they need to be able to access target markets easily and speedily. We urge the government to insist that any decision on allowing mixed-mode [take-offs and landings] or night-flights is dependent on these routes being added to the roster at Heathrow.”

Top 10 routes to growth

1.    Shenzen, China
2.    Brasilia, Brazil
3.    Santiago, Chile
4.    Lima, Peru
5.    Chengdu, China
6.    Nanjing, China
7.    Bogota, Colombia
8.    Phuket, Thailand
9.    Dammam, Saudi Arabia
10.     Caracas, Venezuela

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