Business travel to India: What you need to know

With the business travel market set to exceed $1 trillion this year, it’s no surprise that a few countries are garnering the lion’s share of travelers. While London is the biggest business travel destination right now, it may not remain that way for long. India is becoming an increasingly important destination for business travel, and all signs indicate that the trend will continue.


In 2012, India nabbed Canada’s spot to become the 10th largest business travel market in the world. The GBTA reports that India will likely overtake Italy as the ninth largest global market in the next five years.  

Will your organization be affected?

India’s own thriving business climate is driving this change. As one of the world’s fastest growing economies, India supports a wide number of sectors and vertical markets. According to Business Today, the top five biggest industries in India are:

  • Information Technology
  • Telecom
  • Healthcare
  • Infrastructure
  • Retail

India’s economy is expected to grow at a rate of 5.5% this year, and 6.3% going into 2015. For companies with an interest in global markets, India presents an exciting opportunity, both now and in the future. Which means a trip to India might land on your calendar sooner than you think - and you’ll want to be prepared.


How will you get there?

International travel can be a challenge, even for the most seasoned professionals – and that’s certainly true for India. The country has its own unique customs and preferences that you’ll want to be aware of before you go. Although language is rarely a barrier in the business sector, cultural norms can come as a surprise to the unprepared traveler. No matter where you’re going, it’s smart to think ahead. If your organization has already made a detailed itinerary for your trip, you’re in luck – but it doesn’t hurt to do a little independent research, too.

Business Insider reports that if you fly into India for business, you’ll likely land in Delhi – the hub for American corporation headquarters. But don’t get too comfortable there. Depending on why you’ve flown into the country, you can expect to travel far from the city you landed in to get your business done. Bangalore, Chennai, and Mumbai rank as the top three cities for business in India.


Traveling within India

If you are traveling out of Delhi to another city, there are several transportation options available to you. You may be able to take a private plane to cut down on travel time, but hiring a private car is generally more cost effective. It’s important to make these arrangements before you leave for your trip so you aren’t left wondering what to do when you get there.

Business travelers who are staying in Delhi should prepare to stay in the central district, the city’s hub of commercial activity, BBC Travel reports. And don’t worry about hiring a private car to reach your hotel or motel once you land: A new light rail line called the Delhi Airport Express will safely connect you to the city center once you land at the International airport.

Whether you’re traveling outside of Delhi or staying within the city, travel experts recommend that you make all your transportation arrangements through the hotel where you’re staying in order to find reasonable rates and reputable drivers.


Record-keeping can be tricky

Be sure to look at exchange rates before you go, so that you can budget how much to spend, and plan on having cash for small purchases throughout the day. Know what your company policy is on petty cash expenses before you go, so that you can bring back the necessary documentation.

And be sure to allocate some time for sightseeing – the intense colors and thriving urban communities in India are truly remarkable, and you’ll want to bring a few good photos and souvenirs back with you!


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