Melbourne & north Queensland take out summer holiday hotspots among executives
As business travellers rounded out their trips for the year in December 2023, many weaved in short breaks or extended stays as to see out another year. Corporate Traveller breaks down the most popular Summer holiday hotspots amongst executives.
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, according to new data from Corporate Traveller, the flagship SME division of Flight Centre Travel Group.
Bookings into Melbourne exceeded those into Sydney by more than five 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.
The 10 most booked corporate travel destinations in December 2023 – January 2024
- Gold Coast
The 10 most booked corporate travel destinations in December 2023 – January 2024, excluding State Capitals
- Gold Coast
- Sunshine Coast
- Alice Springs
Tom Walley, Australia-based Global Managing Director at Corporate Traveller said that Melbourne bucked the trend as destination of choice for the holiday season, with Trans-Tasman travel and destinations in north Queensland 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,” Mr Walley 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.
“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.
"Corporate Traveller highlighted business travellers were entering Cairns over the festive season in greater numbers than the Gold and Sunshine Coasts combined."
Mr 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,” Mr Walley 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.
“We see business travellers using the extra time to rest and recuperate, catch up with family and friends in the region, and explore the surrounding areas.”
The popularity of north Queensland among business traveller is due in part to the mining boom, which is seeing the movement of tens of thousands of mining travellers each month, particularly into Queensland and Western Australia.
“The influx of travellers into destinations such as Mackay, Townsville, and Rockhampton, for example, reflects the mining industry’s exponential growth,” Mr Walley said.
“This also comes thanks to Australia’s push towards renewables, which requires more mining of critical minerals.”
 Melbourne Airport, Melbourne Airport international numbers soar past pre-pandemic levels
 Flight Centre, Australia’s Year in Travel 2023: What were our travel trends?