SINGAPORE (April 17): A typical business trip to Singapore now costs an average of US$468 ($633) per day, down slightly from the daily average of US$479 in 2018.

Based on the latest Daily Rates research findings published by ECA International, this pushes Singapore down by a notch to fourth place this year in the Asia rankings for the region’s most expensive locations for business travel.

The city state’s previous third Asia ranking has now been taken over by Seoul (US$477), Korea, which follows Tokyo (US$494), Japan, and Hong Kong at the number one spot with an average of US$515 per day.

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

According to ECA International, Singapore’s slight drop in average daily business travel costs is largely due to a lower hotel room costs, which have declined to an average of US$249 per night as opposed to US$256 the year before.

In comparison, Hong Kong – Asia’s most expensive business travel destination for 2019 on ECA’s Daily Rates rankings – has average daily hotel costs of US$286.

Lee Quane, Regional Director – Asia at ECA International, however notes that demand for hotels has nonetheless remains about the same as Singapore continues to be popular destination for international business, in his view.  

“Despite this small decrease in the average price, the demand remained at about the same level. Singapore continues to be popular for international business, as illustrated by the fact that Singapore remains in the top five most expensive Asian locations,” says Quane.

“In recent years, we have seen Hong Kong pull away slightly from other expensive locations such as Tokyo, Seoul and Singapore. This year has been no different, with Hong Kong now costing 4% more than Tokyo and 8% more than Seoul – two locations that are in second and third places respectively,” he adds.

All cities on the Asian top 10 list notably have yet to make it to the top ten global rankings for ECA’s most expensive locations.

Worldwide, the top 10 list was mainly dominated by cities in the US and Switzerland, with New York coming out top at No.1 with an average daily price of US$799, and Bern making the No.10 mark with an average price of US$576.

Interestingly, ECA International says Chinese cities would have been much higher placed in the global rankings notwithstanding hotel costs from the total prices, as hotel costs in China are comparatively cheaper than many other locations across the world.

Shanghai would have jumped to 89th place from 117th place this year, while Beijing would have been included in the global top 100 list if not for hotel prices.