Brisbane overtaking Melbourne and Sydney as 2023-24

corporate summer holiday destination

Australian corporates are heading further north this holiday season as they combine business with leisure, family and friends. Brisbane is on track to be the top destination in 2024, with 20 per cent more bookings than last year’s top spot, Melbourne.

The findings come from Corporate Traveller, which compared air, car, rail and hotel bookings by its corporate customers to 35 of Australia’s major holiday hotspots (in the table below) from 15 December to 26 January in 2022-23 and 2023-24.

brisbane city travel destination

Capital cities attract the most holiday bookings, with Brisbane taking top spot this Christmas

For the two periods analysed, Australia’s capital cities attracted more Christmas holiday bookings than regional holiday hotspots. The trend seen dominating Brisbane arrivals is likely due to it being the gateway to the Gold and Sunshine Coasts, as corporates look to combine CBD business with coastal holidays. Further, attendance at the last of corporate events for the year, and business travellers visiting nearby family or friends over Christmas is also contributing to the trend. This coming holiday period, Sydney has already secured 15 per cent of all bookings to the 35 destinations, Melbourne 16 per cent and Brisbane 20 per cent – making Brisbane Australia’s top Christmas holiday hotspot this year. To date, Brisbane bookings have outpaced Melbourne’s by 20 per cent and Sydney’s by 25 per cent. In contrast, last year Melbourne was the most popular city for bookings, beating Sydney by 7 per cent and Brisbane by 3 per cent in bookings.  

NSW North Coast and Queensland coast attract majority of regional holiday bookings

Overall, the NSW North Coast and the Queensland coast have attracted more business travellers than any other regional holiday hotspot that Corporate Traveller analysed, taking in 15 per cent of all analysed bookings (including cities) in 2023, and 14 per cent in 2024. When cities are excluded, the NSW north coast and Queensland coast, combined, attracted 65 per cent of those regional holiday bookings analysed this Christmas, and 59 per cent last Christmas.


Executives travel off the beaten track

While Byron Bay is internationally known as a top holiday destination, this Christmas Broome in Western Australia has already secured triple the number of bookings of Ballina, NSW, after trending neck to neck with Ballina last Christmas. Coffs Harbour has also rushed ahead in 2023-2024, attracting 46 per cent more bookings than Ballina to date. Last year, Coffs Harbour trailed closely behind Ballina.

Newcastle remains the top NSW destination outside Sydney

Newcastle grew in popularity as a holiday destination over the two years. This upcoming holiday season, it has already attracted 124 per cent more bookings than Ballina, 92 per cent more than Coffs Harbour, and 137 per cent more than Port Macquarie. Newcastle also dominated NSW’s regional destinations last holiday season, attracting 101 per cent more bookings than Ballina, 101 per cent more than Coffs Harbour and 132 per cent more than Port Macquarie.

Tom Walley, Corporate Traveller’s Global Managing Director, says: “There are plenty of places to visit within a short drive from our capital cities, so it makes sense that many corporate travellers will base themselves in the city where their business, family and friends are likely to be, while still enjoying the spoils of nearby beaches and mountains in their downtime. Brisbane has long held a reputation of being the more relaxed capital, like a big country town, but it has a burgeoning population and a growing number of restaurants, cafes and cultural offerings. This, along with its exceptional weather compared with extended heatwaves in Sydney and high rainfall in Melbourne at the moment, has possibly steered more people toward Brisbane this holiday season.”

Corporate Traveller analysed bookings to 35 holiday hotspots from 15 Dec–26 Jan 2022/23 & 2023/24

Sydney Brisbane  Melbourne  Hobart 
Ballina Gold Coast  Mildura  Launceston 
Port Macquarie Whitsunday Coast  Avalon  Devonport 
Orange Regional Bundaberg  Bendigo  Burnie 
Coffs Harbour Cairns    King Island 
Dubbo Hamilton Island     
Wagga Wagga  Sunshine Coast    
Newcastle Townsville     
  Hervey Bay    
Perth  Darwin  Canberra Adelaide 
Rottnest Island Alice Springs     
Broome  Katherine     

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