Business travel bookings increase 21% in six weeks, signalling boost in business confidence

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New data from Australia’s leading travel management provider for SMEs has revealed businesses are eager to return to the skies, with a 21 per cent increase in domestic and international flight bookings since early February. The early data signals a resurgence in travel and a promising bounceback for Australia’s travel industry.

Corporate Traveller Australia, Flight Centre Travel Group’s travel management provider for SMEs, analysed its travel booking data from 7 February – the date the Federal Government announced the opening of Australia’s international border – to 23 March.

In that period alone, international flight bookings increased by 416 per cent, and domestic bookings by 18 per cent.

Despite the jump in international business travel bookings, the strong growth has come off a small base, given that most international corporate travel was off limits before borders opened with the number of seats purchased at a low level when compared to pre-COVID numbers.

Tom Walley, Global Managing Director at Corporate Traveller, says: “Travel bookings are an indicator of business confidence and optimism – particularly advance bookings. This is a significant uptick in bookings in just a six-week period, and we anticipate demand will climb steadily throughout the year as we continue to track bookings. Hundreds of our customers who paused their travel during the pandemic are kickstarting their programs again, while essential industries that continued travelling, such as medical, mining and engineering, are planning to invest more in their travel this year.”

Corporate Traveller data also revealed that 59 per cent of its domestic and international flight bookings were made up to 10 days before travel, while 11 per cent were made at least four weeks in advance.

In domestic business travel, Corporate Traveller found that, as the borders in NSW, Victoria and Queensland opened late last year, domestic travel increased, even with COVID case numbers high.

When the NSW-Victoria border opened on 4 November and up to 7 February, domestic bookings into NSW increased by 98 per cent, while bookings out went up by 148 per cent. Meanwhile in Victoria, air travel out of the state increased by 227 per cent, and flights in went up by 137 per cent.

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