ECA International has published the latest Daily Rates research which reveals that Singapore retains its position as one of the top 5 most expensive business travel locations in Asia. Singapore is currently in 4th place, with a typical business trip costing an average of US$468 per day. This is a slight drop compared to last year, but not enough to remove Singapore from the top 5.

“The cost of a business trip to Singapore has stayed relatively static due to the steady level of international business travel to the country”, said Regional Director – Asia of ECA International Lee Quane. “However, the price of a hotel room has dropped slightly, down to US$249 per night from US$256 in 2018”.

Despite this fact, Singapore remains one of the most popular travel locations for international business. Prices continue to remain high due to this popularity.

With regards to the rest of Asia, Hong Kong retains its title of the most expensive location for business travel for the second successive year. The average business trip to Hong Kong would cost an overall total of US$515 per day, including hotel costs of US$286. According to Quane, Hong Kong has always been an expensive Asian location due to a combination of high hotel prices and expensive goods and services.

Tokyo remains second in the Asia rankings, with the typical business trip now costing US$494 a day. Seoul is in third place based on the overall price of a business trip. However, the Korean capital overtakes Tokyo’s second place if hotel costs are excluded.

“We expect to see the costs of business travel to Tokyo increase over the next 12 months due the city hosting major events such as the Rugby World Cup as well as the Olympic and Paralympic games between now and the end of 2020”, said Quane. Increasing tourism and a shortage of accommodations are factors that also play a big part in the increasing costs of traveling to Tokyo.

On the other hand, despite having hotel costs, the price of food, drinks and other incidentals that make up the overall cost of a trip is actually higher in Seoul than Tokyo. Issues like these are not uncommon where hotel costs can greatly inflate the price of a business trip.

In China, the most expensive business trip destination is Shanghai, at US$378 per day.

Quane explained: “Although a business trip to Shanghai would be relatively expensive compared to other Chinese cities, Shanghai is outside of the top ten most expensive locations in Asia for business travel, and outside of the top 100 globally”. However, if we exclude hotel prices from the equation, cities in China will place much higher on the list. This is due to hotel prices in China being relatively cheaper than other locations around the world.

The cheapest location in ECA’s rankings was Johor Bahru in Malaysia, where a business trip would cost just US$184 per day, with hotel costs accounting for just US$83 of this amount.

Top Ten Most Expensive Locations for Business Travel in Asia

Location 2019 ranking Average price of a business trip per day (USD)
Hong Kong 1 515
Tokyo, Japan 2 494
Seoul, Korea Republic 3 477
Singapore 4 468
Busan, Korea Republic 5 434
Yokohama, Japan 6 419
Osaka, Japan 7 400
Ashgabat, Turkmenistan 8 396
Dhaka, Bangladesh 9 384
Macau 10 380


Top Ten Most Expensive Locations for Business Travel in the World

Location 2019 ranking Average price of a business trip per day (USD)
New York, USA 1 799
Geneva, Switzerland 2 716
Zurich, Switzerland 3 661
Washington DC, USA 4 621
Paris, France 5 617
Reykjavik, Iceland 6 615
San Francisco, USA 7 581
Basel, Switzerland 8 579
Los Angeles, USA 9 578
Bern, Switzerland 10 576