Business Travel is Back: These Are the Top Cities Visited for Work

Business travel has slowly crept back to pre-pandemic numbers; however, it still hasn’t seen the post-pandemic bounce-back that airlines or the hospitality industry may have hoped. Slowly but surely, though, executives are making their way back to in-person meetings. According to data collected by BCD Travels, these were the top destinations that people went to for work – and not pleasure – in 2023.

New York City

The Statue of Liberty over the Scene of New york cityscape river side
Image Credit: Shutterstock / TZIDO SUN

The London to NYC flight was the intercontinental route that carried the most passengers in 2023. It’s no surprise that the business capital of the world continues to be New York City, even though many US businesses have looked to move out of the Big Apple in favor of setting up more cost-effective headquarters elsewhere.

The US, in its entirety, is still the most visited country for business purposes. It could be said that the more things change, the more they stay the same.


Flowers and bicycles on a bridge in Amsterdam.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Dennis van de Water

On the international front, a newcomer has taken the top spot as the most visited city for business. Some people may find it very hard to believe that Amsterdam is a city that people aren’t going to for pleasure, but this is no mirage. The city is a major hub for KLM, and it’s typically the door to Europe for travelers from all over the world. That may be the biggest reason it topped the international business travel list in 2023, not necessarily because Amsterdam as a business hub has seen such a massive uptick.


Chicago skyline at night.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Rudy Balasko

Chicago has arguably always been in New York’s shadow, but, interestingly, the city is also a major gateway to the United States. It’s still as busy a business hub as ever, and these numbers seem to confirm it.

The inclusion of this city on the list also seems to indicate international travelers prefer to enter the US through the Eastern seaboard. That’s obvious for European travelers, but passengers coming from China could just as well land in LA with a similar flight time. Yet they chose to arrive in NYC or Chicago.


Big Ben in sunny day, London
Image Credit: Shutterstock / ESB Professional

London used to be the most visited European city for business travelers. In 2023, it was overtaken by Amsterdam, but it still makes the list. The UK as a whole was also overtaken by Germany as the most visited European country.

One major issue lies behind the British decline: Russian businesses were a prominent player in the London financial scene. The war with Ukraine changed that literally overnight, causing traveler numbers to the UK to take quite a hit.


City of Dubai
Image Credit: Shutterstock / shutterlk

Dubai has long been an attractive travel destination, but it wasn’t necessarily until recently that local businesses opened up to the global market. With the amount of money seemingly on every corner in the United Arab Emirates, it’s no wonder that foreign businesses want to tap into that potential. Plus, Emirates, the airline, has been allowing travelers to head to its home country with convenient routes and lavish airplanes. What’s not to like about that experience?

Frankfurt & Munich

Frankfurt, Germany financial district skyline.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sean Pavone

As mentioned, Germany tops the list of European countries that welcome the most business travelers. That, in large part, has to do with the number of visitors coming to both Munich and Frankfurt. Both cities are major industry hubs in the country. Therefore, it’s more likely that they won’t be just a gateway to Europe for travelers but actually their final destination. That speaks volumes about Germany’s importance to the entire EU business sector. Frankfurt to Chicago and NYC are two of the most popular intercontinental routes for a reason.

Washington DC

The White House in Washington DC with beautiful blue sky
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Vacclav

Plenty of business is conducted out of the nation’s capital. The fact that DC outperforms hubs like LA or Atlanta shows the importance of political lobbying for business – that’s usually the main reason why people travel for work to the nation’s capital. While there are certainly plenty of businesses around the Maryland area, they pale in comparison to what can be found in some of the other parts of the country.


Sunset Eiffel tower and Paris city view form Montparnasse
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Kotkoa

The city of love still gets some love from business travelers. The Paris to NYC route cracked the top ten amongst the intercontinental routes that carry the most passengers. Is Paris in a similar situation as Amsterdam, where it’s the gateway to Europe? That could be the case, as business travelers take advantage of their trip to roam around the city a bit. This doesn’t change the fact that it’s still a popular destination for work-related activities.

San Francisco

Famous Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco at night, USA
Image Credit: Shutterstock / ventdusud

Silicon Valley is still the world’s tech center, so it’s no surprise that business travelers are arriving in the Bay Area. However, it’s also true that many prominent companies that used to call the region home have migrated to other parts of the country, particularly Texas. Taking that into account, this could be the last year that San Fran makes the list.

Surprises on the List

Beautiful sunset of Los Angeles downtown skyline.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Chones

One of the biggest surprises on the list was the fact that Los Angeles was only 8th on the international travel list, behind cities like Boston, Atlanta, and San Francisco.

The Chinese market in general has also suffered in the post-pandemic era. That’s likely due to the fact that the country continued to apply pandemic-induced travel restrictions well into 2023. This is something that wasn’t replicated in pretty much any other part of the world. Japan is a country that’s noticeably absent from these lists altogether. Like China, that may have something to do with the strict travel restrictions that were still being imposed throughout 2023.

Mario Perez

Author: Mario Perez


Mario is a seasoned journalist who’s worked with multiple publications over the years. He has a passion for looking for that story within the story itself. When he’s not actively looking for breaking news, he enjoys playing and watching sports.

Leave a Comment