Business Tourism in its most basic definition is associated with traveling that involves the undertaking of business activities that are usually based away from one’s hometown or country.
Meanwhile, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) defines business tourism as “traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business, and other purposes.”
Activities that generally fall under business tourism include meetings, congresses, incentive travel and corporate hospitality, exhibitions, and similar events.
While there lacks an absolute academic definition of what business tourism is, there has been relatively little literature on the characterization of business tourism. The closest academic postulation regarding the concept has been laid out by Davidson who stated that business tourism essentially is “concerned with people traveling for purposes which are related to their work.”
The significance of business tourism is such that in 2017 alone, business tourism had contributed a total of $1.23 trillion from the overall $10 trillion of the entire global tourism industry.
Moreover, business tourism has a strong correlation with a country’s economy mostly due to the tourist market it is focused on. Business travelers are less cost-sensitive compared to other types of travelers and research indicates that business travelers spend four times more during their trips than any other type of tourists.
Research by Davidson and Cope had also found that the ratio of daily expenditure by business or corporate travelers to that of leisure is generally somewhat between 2:1 and 3:1. This shows the strong contribution of business tourism to both the local and global economies.
Due to the activities of business tourism involving meetings, incentive travel, and similar elements it is often confused with MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Exhibitions) Tourism. However, the two are not the same and have varying characteristics but mostly it is the focus that distinguishes the two.
Where MICE Tourism is focused on the requirements of the end-users, with the end-users being the eventual decision-makers for holding events and approving budget items or other formalities, business tourism focuses on the essential venue, staging, travel, tours, transport, and similar components which are eventually contracted to the MICE organizers.
The bottom line is that business tourism revolves around the individuals who are traveling for business and MICE tourism relates to the ones who are hosting or organizing such business or corporate affairs to attract inbound business travelers.