Business travel bookings surge as confidence returns

New booking data has signalled a resurgence in business travel with a 21 per cent increase in domestic and international flight bookings since early February.

Corporate Traveller Australia data showed international flights surging 416 per cent in the six weeks since Australia’s international borders reopened, while domestic bookings rose by 18 per cent from February 7 to March 23.

The top five international business travel destinations are London, Singapore, Los Angeles, Dubai, and Port Moresby.

“Travel bookings are an indicator of business confidence and optimism – particularly advance bookings,” said Tom Walley, global managing director at Corporate Traveller.

“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.”

Domestic business travel increased as the borders in NSW, Victoria and Queensland opened late last year, 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.

Bookings into and out of Queensland eclipsed other states. From 13 December (when the border opened) to 7 February, interstate air travel out of the state increased by 54 per cent, while arrival air traffic went up by 77 per cent.

“The travel industry experienced a slow start to the year due to the surge in Omicron cases. However, the combination of open borders, eased restrictions and a return to workplaces has given businesses and consumers a much-needed boost in confidence to travel,” said Walley.

“The recovery of the industry is in sight this year, as evidenced by the green shoots we’ve already seen in our flight bookings.”