Press Release

Dubai and Cairns take off as business travel destinations of choice

March 2023­ – New data released by FCM, the flagship large market division of Flight Centre Travel Group, has revealed both Dubai and Cairns have soared as business travel destinations of choice for corporates flying out of Australian airports – with a notable rush to the regions domestically.

Internationally, Dubai was up a sky-high 55 per cent on pre-COVID, with Port Moresby up 46 per cent, Bangkok seeing an increase of 31 per cent and Johannesburg and London rounding out the top five, up 29 and 28 per cent, respectively.

Closer to home, regional destinations have taken off, with Cairns up a whopping 76 per cent, Broken hill seeing a 69 per cent increase, Ballina up 56 per cent and Rockhampton and the Sunshine Coast, at 39 and 32 per cent respectively, completing the top five domestic destinations for business.

“Dubai is geographically perfect for businesspeople to hold meetings, conferences, and events as it’s centrally located and easily reachable by a single flight from most business centre cities across the world,” said Melissa Elf, ANZ Managing Director, Flight Centre Corporate.

“Aside from having one of the largest airport hubs globally, the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates is also serviced by most major air carriers, and it also benefits from having some of the best and most well-known hotels in the world.

“Since the pandemic, we’ve seen a dramatic rise in corporates wanting to turn their business trip into a ‘bleisure’ trip, so that would be one of the many reasons Bangkok has experienced such a take-off, with major cities like London maintaining a strong growth as one of the world’s economic capitals.”

Regional travel has seen a dramatic post-pandemic, with Flight Centre Corporate recently revealing that in the year to 31 December 2022, regional flight bookings were 10.5 per cent higher than they were in 2019[1] – with Queensland areas landing in eight of the top 10 destinations.

“We’re blessed to have some stunning coastlines in Australia and it’s no surprise that businesses are now looking to more regional areas to combine upgraded corporate spaces in those areas with one eye on the wellness of their people by being beside the ocean,” Ms Elf said.

“There’s also the combination of low availability in state capitals and major cities as big businesses return in their droves to face-to-face interactions, along with regional areas offering better value for money for corporations that are willing to travel somewhere different for a potential cost saving.”


[1] Booking data from 1 January-31 December 2022 – derived from Flight Centre Corporate. Comparisons are made with bookings in 2019 (before the pandemic) when business flights were at normal levels.

Destination growth – July to January FY 2019 versus July to January FY 2023:

Top 5 International   Top 5 Domestic  
Dubai 55% Cairns 76%
Port Moresby 46% Broken Hill 69%
Bangkok 31% Ballina 56%
Johannesburg 29% Rockhampton 39%
London 28% Sunshine Coast 32%


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