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International Business Travel Spend into the UK Tops £5 Billion

International business travellers spent £5 billion on business trips into the UK, a significant rise of 11% against 2012, according to analysis of the ONS’ Travelpac travel data by Santander Corporate & Commercial.

  • International business travellers spent £5 billion on business trips into the UK in 2013, a rise of 11% against 2012, according to analysis of ONS data
  • UK business travellers spent £1.53 billion on trips to the US, Germany, France in 2013 – the most significant trading partners
  • Fastest-growing business travel destinations from the UK include Egypt, New Zealand, Bulgaria, Turkey and Thailand

International business travellers spent £5 billion on business trips into the UK, a significant rise of 11% against 2012, according to analysis of the ONS’ Travelpac travel data1 by Santander Corporate & Commercial.  In contrast, UK business travellers spent £4.7 billion on business trips abroad in 2013, a decrease of 3% year-on-year.

The analysis shows that business travellers from the US, Germany and France remain the top three key ‘inward’ business sources, with travellers from these three spending £1.51 billion in 2013 in the UK versus £1.44 billion in 2012.  In terms of UK outward business journeys, the US, Germany, France are also the top three, with £1.53 billion spent in 2013 by UK business travellers.

In an indication of the increasing significance of Asia to global trade, however, the 2013 figures show that UK business travellers spent significantly more in the Asia region than in 2012.  UK residents travelling to the content spent a total of £673 million in 2013, a 16% rise on the amount in 2012. China and India were the primary beneficiaries, receiving £188 million (excluding Hong Kong) and £115 million respectively. 

Asian business travellers into the UK are also becoming more significant. According to the analysis by Santander, business travellers from India are now the sixth most significant ‘inward’ business segment, with 2013 spend of £209 million in the UK and dislodging the Republic of Ireland. In total, Asian business travellers to the UK spent £621 million in 2013, an increase of 23%.

Marcelino Castrillo, Managing Director of SME Banking at Santander, said: “The UK continues to be at the centre of world trade, with a growing number of UK businesses benefitting from exporting their goods and services abroad and working with overseas supply chain partners.  However, we firmly believe that more UK businesses could benefit from exporting, and this is a key focus for Santander. 

“Supporting business travel and developing international trading relationships are at the heart of a number of services Santander offers to UK SME business owners to help them benefit from international trading opportunities.  The trade missions we operate via our Breakthrough programme specifically help generate international trading opportunities for UK businesses. We have run such trips to Mexico, New York, the United Arab Emirates and Brazil in 2014 and are focused on growing this in 2015.”

According to the analysis of the ONS’ Travelpac travel data, in terms of the fastest-growing inward business travellers into the UK, the top five countries are Estonia (a 222% change 2013 vs. 2012); Mexico (119%); Jamaica (102%); Spain (86%); and Greece (78%).

In terms of fastest-growing outward business destinations from the UK, the top five countries are Egypt (220% change 2013 vs. 2012); New Zealand (117%); Bulgaria (99%); Turkey (91%); and Thailand (79%). 

Marcelino Castrillo, Managing Director of SME Banking at Santander, said: “Santander is committed to helping SMEs in the UK and all over the world capitalise on international trade.  Last year we launched the Trade Portal, for example, an online tool for UK businesses to investigate global trade opportunities and in June we rolled out the Santander Trade Club, an online community of Santander clients from around the world.  The Club allows members to interact with other businesses both in the UK and overseas to establish import and export links, and to seek opportunities for growth.”

The information contained in our press releases is intended solely for journalists and should not be used by consumers to make financial decisions.

Notes to Editors

Santander UK is a leading financial services provider in the UK and offers a wide range of personal and commercial financial products and services. At 30 June 2014, Santander UK serves around 14 million active customers with c. 20,300 employees, almost 1,000 branches and 52 regional Corporate Business Centres. Santander UK is subject to the full supervision of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in the UK. Santander UK plc customers are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK.

About Us
Banco Santander (SAN.MC, STD.N, BNC.LN) is a retail and commercial bank, based in Spain, with a presence in 10 main markets. Santander is the largest bank in the euro zone by market capitalization. Founded in 1857, Santander had EUR 1.34 trillion in managed funds, 107 million customers, 13,225 branches – more than any other international bank – and 183,648 employees at the close of June 2014. It is the largest financial group in Spain and Latin America. It also has significant positions in the United Kingdom, Portugal, Germany, Poland and the northeast United States. In the first half of 2014, Santander registered EUR 2.756 billion in attributable profit, an increase of 22% from the same period of the previous year.

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