Melbourne and north Qld top ‘bleisure’ travel destinations

Melbourne has claimed top spot for business travellers over the summer.

Melbourne has overtaken Sydney as the top destination for business travellers over the summer holiday season, and north Queensland trumped regional business travel in other states.

Data from Corporate Traveller showed bookings into Melbourne exceeded those into Sydney by more than 5 per cent in the month of December 2023, marking a shift in the annual trend seen throughout the rest of the year.

Victoria’s capital took out the top spot domestically as it became the only Australian airport to exceed 100 per cent of pre-2019 capacity in the international market, with 1.31 million seats available for international passengers to and from Melbourne.

Tom Walley, global managing director at Corporate Traveller, said Trans-Tasman travel and destinations in north Queensland are also proving popular among corporate travellers.

“Trans-Tasman travel grew by 10 per cent in December 2023 compared to the same month the year previous,” he said.

“Holiday season travel data also shows the regions, particularly in north Queensland, are taking off, with destinations such as Mackay seeing a 13 per cent increase in travel in December 2023, versus 2022.

North Queensland is a favourite for bleisure travellers.

“Cairns follows closely behind Mackay as the second most booked destination in the country outside the state capitals.”

Corporate Traveller highlighted business travellers were entering Cairns over the festive season in greater numbers than the Gold and Sunshine Coasts combined.

This data comes as Flight Centre revealed Cairns as one of the top 10 tourist destinations for 2023.

Walley said the ‘bleisure’ travel trend showed corporate travellers are making use of work trips for a festive break.

“There’s been an ever-increasing drive towards extended ‘bleisure’ stays, whereby travellers weave short breaks into a work trip, with an increased in trips of four days or more, and this is particularly evident over summer,” he said.

“Executives are eager to travel again by lengthening their stays to spend time with family, sightsee, or relax and reset.

“In fact, our own booking data shows more business travellers have been taking extended trips over the past year: longer domestic trips, of between four to six days, have increased by 4.6 per cent.

“The influx of travellers into destinations such as Mackay, Townsville, and Rockhampton, for example, reflects the mining industry’s exponential growth.

“This also comes thanks to Australia’s push towards renewables, which requires more mining of critical minerals.”