Big business travel takes off by 41% as bookings soar for multiple industries


Big business travel has taken off by just over 41 per cent year-on-year for the first 11 months of 2023 with multiple industries upping their bookings, according to FCM, Flight Centre Travel Group’s flagship large market corporate division.

The data reveals that while Mining/Oil/Gas, and Government/NFP lead the charge for the most bookings, with a 46 per cent and 63 per cent increase respectively, education-related travel rose the ranks to fifth position with 104 per cent growth in travel in 2023 to date, on the year previous.

Sydney retained the top spot as the number one destination, followed by Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane, Port Headland and Adelaide domestically – with Port Moresby the most booked internationally, before Auckland, Singapore, London, and Sydney.

"We're beyond saying that travel is simply ‘back’ now, with business travel surviving, and now clearly thriving with multiple industries dramatically increasing their booking numbers versus the same nine months last year,” said Global FCM COO/Flight Centre Corporate MD for ANZ Melissa Elf.

“What we can see from our new data is there's no part of Australia that's untouched by the need or requirement of business travel. Whether it be a mining site in WA, an event or conference in Sydney, education in Melbourne, or the need to visit a construction site in Queensland – the appetite for travel is unquestionably there.

“These figures really cement the fact that Australia is a destination of choice when it comes to the education industry – and it's clear that the desire to come to our shores has only gotten stronger.

“Our data shows us that the top city pairs for education travel are Sydney and Shanghai, Melbourne and Shanghai, Beijing and Sydney, Perth and Shanghai, and Brisbane and Beijing – proving that many of our capital cities appeal to Chinese students and education professionals,”

“It’s no coincidence that the uplift in numbers has coincided with the returning capacity from the Chinese carriers. We've long been advocates of more airlines, to more destinations, offering more choice – this is a good example of the positive impact it has when this comes to fruition.

“Corporate travel is on the right trajectory, as evidenced by the Global Business Travel Association’s recent 2023 Business Travel Index™ Outlook, noting that global business travel spend is expected to surpass its pre-pandemic spending level of $1.4 trillion (USD) in 2024.

“For economies to survive, recover, and thrive – big business must continue to travel for meetings, events, and conferences to retain staff, recruit the best talent, and win new contracts – these are just some of the factors as to why business travel has gone beyond just a ‘bounce back.’

"That's supported by the fact we recently announced our Meetings & Events business will be globally expanding to meet the needs of customers now embracing the true value of face-to-face interaction, instead of opting for the old days of Zoom and Teams being the only answer.

“The other interesting stat is the number of days in advance companies are booking has increased year-on-year – a sure sign that not only has confidence to travel has returned, but savvy businesses are now happy to book further out to secure a better deal, through our expert travel managers.”

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