‘Golden Triangle’ popular with SMEs in business travel resurgence

The area of Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane, known as the ‘Golden Triangle’, has been proven to be a more popular destination than ever with SMEs in the first five months of the year as travel between the East Coast’s three biggest capital cities soared by 25 per cent compared to the same time period in 2022.

This is according to the data from Flight Centre Travel Group’s SME business, Corporate Traveller, which showed that between 01 January and 31 May 2023 travel to Sydney rose by 27 per cent year-on-year, Melbourne 24 per cent, and Brisbane 21 per cent.

The top five industries travelled by SMEs were construction, services, health care and social assistance, manufacturing, and finance and insurance.

Australia-based Global Managing Director for Corporate Traveller Tom Walley stressed that the increased travel between the ‘Golden Triangle’ was critical against the backdrop of economic pressures.

“SMEs are the backbone of the Australian economy, and the three major East Coast cities of Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane are the beating heart when it comes to business growth and overall benefit to the bottom line for the whole country,” Walley said. “The Australian economy grew 3.6 per cent in 2021-22, following growth of 2.2 per cent in 2020-21. New South Wales Gross State Product increased 1.8 per cent, Victoria recorded an increase of 5.6 per cent, and Queensland saw a rise of 4.4 per cent.

“Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that more than 97 per cent of all businesses down under (defined as less than 20 employees) were small businesses in June 2022 – this highlights just how important the sector is as the Reserve Bank of Australia continues its economic path,” he added.

Walley noted that a combination of airline competition, increased capacity, low unemployment and the strong return of meetings, events, and conferences have all aided the growth in travel.

“There’s now strong competition on the ‘Golden Triangle’ route between Qantas, Virgin Australia, and Rex – offering customers the choice of airlines, departure times, and fares,” Walley said. “Along with increased capacity, we also expect flight prices to continue their downward trend throughout the year. The labour market is also the tightest it has been in recent history, so looking interstate for talent is something that is becoming increasingly prominent. The other trend we’ve seen is the strong return of meetings, events, and conferences, with Sydney and Melbourne the top two destinations.

“There continues to be a swing towards ‘bleisure’ travel as well, and with confidence fully back in the travel industry regarding open borders and the freedom of travel, our savvy SMEs are more than ever combining their valuable business trips with a holiday in the East Coast’s biggest three cities,” Walley concluded.