Sunshine State shines bright for international business travel with 30% rise

brisbane international travel

The Sunshine State continues to be a beacon of light for business travel in Australia with latest figures showing the number of international bookings out of Brisbane has risen by over 30 per cent year-on-year – suggesting a return to confidence for corporates travelling further afield.

The data from Flight Centre Travel Group’s flagship corporate divisions of FCM Travel and Corporate Traveller also highlighted a 17 per cent rise in the number of people travelling in the same period.

The statistics come hot on the heels of Delta Air Lines announcing a direct route between the capital of the Sunshine State and Los Angeles from December 2024 – with Brisbane Airport revealing that seat capacity between Brisbane and North America will jump to 144 per cent of pre-Covid capacity.

“We’ve long touted Brisbane as a destination of choice for business travellers, but this new data tells us that homegrown companies are looking further afield to either reconnect with staff overseas, to attend meetings, events, and conference, or making the journey abroad in an attempt to grow,” said Melissa Elf, Flight Centre Corporate Managing Director, ANZ.

“Ever since the Commonwealth Games visited the Gold Coast, investment in Brisbane has taken off exponentially, with more and more major domestic and international businesses choosing to move their operations and HQs to the Sunshine State capital.

“It’s an incredibly exciting time for Brisbane with the city hosting the Games in 2032, the Queen’s Wharf development not too far away from completion, and multiple bridges under construction that’ll boost connectivity across the city – it’s an exciting time on various fronts. 

“The missing piece to the puzzle is getting back to, or beyond, 100 per cent of 2019 international capacity out of Brisbane. The airport has done a wonderful job in selling the state capital to the U.S. and beyond – the Delta announcement being a prime example of this – but we’re still constrained when it comes to flights through the Middle East and Asia to Europe.

“Once that happens, and we’re getting there with Emirates increasing their capacity to Dubai and China Eastern Airlines returning, customers will enjoy further drops in airfare pricing thanks to the competition that multiple airline options create.”

“This growth reflects the resurgence of connections between Brisbane businesses and their global clients and teams. While virtual meetings have proven valuable, there remains an undeniable value in flying to engage with clients and foster genuine relationships,” said Brisbane Airport Chief Executive Officer Gert-Jan de Graaff.

“Passenger forecasts project a return to full pre-COVID travel levels through the International Terminal in December off the back of some exciting new airline announcements to North America plus growth on other important routes.

“Flights across The Pacific will be at unprecedented levels by the end of 2024, with five carriers serving major hubs, with direct connections to North, Central and South America. This makes it easier than ever for Queensland businesses to connect with one of our largest trade, investment, and tourism markets.”

*Figures for the number of travellers for Flight Centre Corporate between 01 September 2022 to 28 February 2023 versus 01 September 2023 to 29 February 2024.