As corporate travel booms across Asia-Pacific, the concept of bleisure is gaining traction, spurring the region’s cities to better integrate opportunities for leisure amid busy business trips. The 2019 bleisure barometer: Asia’s best cities for work and recreation, sponsored by All Nippon Airways, reveals that while Asia’s best bleisure destinations provide the right balance of business activity, high-quality infrastructure and top-flight leisure experiences, a number of less obvious choices stand out, as well. Here is the final top ten list:
4. Hong Kong
Cities were scored out of five possible points, with scores tabulated from responses of a survey of 1,500 business travelers from around the world, asking them about a variety of factors impacting business travel, such as ease of transportation and availability of consumer goods and services.
Scores were used to determine rankings as well as star groupings, with five-star cities scoring above the average and one-star cities scoring below:
One star: Bangkok, Adelaide, Shenzhen, Jakarta, Ho Chi Minh, Colombo, Hanoi, and Manila
Two stars: Taipei, Guangzhou, Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai, Wellington, Brisbane, New Delhi, and Auckland
Three stars: Osaka, Perth, and Seoul
Four stars: Shanghai and Beijing
Five stars: Tokyo, Singapore, Sydney, Hong Kong, and Melbourne
One significant finding from the study is that Asia’s best cities for bleisure are not necessarily its most livable. Although the specific questions used in the survey were inspired by ourGlobal Liveability Index, some striking differences emerge. For example, wealthy cities such as Auckland, New Zealand, and Adelaide, Australia, sit atop the league tables for livability, but drastically underperform on bleisure.
Meanwhile, Shanghai and Beijing, while rarely considered highly livable, show their rising business might in the bleisure study, filling the four-star tier.
The study also assesses specific aspects of the bleisure experience, such as what makes for a successful business trip and what travellers look for in their leisurely diversions. On the former question, ease of transportation takes the top spot, followed closely by safety and orderliness of streets/urban areas and quality of business facilities. On the question of leisure activities, dining out won by a large margin, with visiting local historical or heritage sites and going to an art museum/gallery ranking second and third.
According to Naka Kondo, editor of the report: “Cities in Asia-Pacific should take note: facilitating leisure experiences for corporate travellers can be the key to differentiating in a crowded business travel market. Some of the top cities in our bleisure barometer are already world leaders in this regard, while others can learn from the best in improving access to the intersection of business and leisure travel in the region.”
The report, including full scoring and star bracket methodology, as well as an infographic and video, can be found at: https://fivestarcities.