Singapore is 5th most expensive location in Asia Pacific for business travel

Singapore is 5th most expensive location in Asia Pacific for business travel

If you're planning on holding a meeting or conference in Asia, you might want to consider doing so in Singapore.

Compared to other Asian Pacific cities for business travel, Singapore is less costly than Hong Kong, which tops as the most expensive city for business travel. 

In fact, Singapore is ranked as the fifth most expensive location, according to findings from the latest Daily Rates research published by ECA International.

After Hong Kong, the second most expensive location for business travel is Dhaka in Bangladesh, followed by Seoul as third most expensive and Tokyo as fourth.

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.

While the cost of a typical meal out and incidental expenditure is more expensive in Singapore, higher costs associated with hotel accommodation in the Special Administrative Region (SAR) contribute to its position as the most expensive location in the Asia Pacific to undertake a business trip.

"Room rates in Singapore are among the highest out of the locations we surveyed in the region," said Mr Lee Quane, regional director - Asia for ECA International.

"Looking at four-star hotel accommodation, rates here are the seventh highest in the region, approximately 20 per cent lower than comparable accommodation in the most expensive location, Hong Kong."

The cheapest location in Asia for business travel is Kuala Lumpur.

Bangkok, Phnom Penh and Bandar Seri Begawan are the only other capital cities ranked within the top 10 cheapest locations for business travel in Asia.

"A combination of generally low living costs, relatively cheap accommodation options for business travellers and weak currency against the USD have contributed to these locations being where they are in our rankings," Mr Quane pointed out.

When hotel costs are excluded, the most expensive locations in Asia that are visited by employees are slightly different.

Seoul, then, becomes the most expensive location in Asia, followed by Tokyo, Sydney, Singapore and Shanghai.

Singapore rises to fourth place in the region, overtaking Dhaka, where a shortage of suitable accommodation contributes to the high rates charged for hotel rooms.

Dhaka moves down to the 24th most expensive location in the region when hotel rates are excluded.

Hong Kong also falls to eighth position.

The cheapest locations in the region for business travellers, once hotel costs are excluded, are Karachi, Islamabad, Kathmandu and Ulaanbaatar, with costs in Karachi approximately one third of those incurred by business travellers in Seoul.

"Companies have many ways to ensure that the costs incurred by an employee during the course of a business trip are covered, whether that be via reimbursement or the provision of a daily allowance to meet such expenditure," advised Mr Quane.

"However, what the variation in costs within the region suggests is that it is important for companies to ensure that the allowances they pay are relative to each location that they send an employee to. These should also be reviewed on a regular basis in order to account for the annual changes."

spanaech@sph.com.sg

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