Post-pandemic international business travel reached new highs

Corporate travel Serko

New data from SME travel management provider Corporate Traveller Australia has uncovered a resurgence in international business travel six months on from the initial border reopening in November last year.

Travel booking data from 1 January to 1 May 2022 highlighted this sustained increase in international flight bookings, with April having recorded the largest increase since November at 135 per cent. January and February also saw a notable increase at 75 per cent.

Tom Walley, Global Managing Director at Corporate Traveller, commented, “Despite the fact that full capacity for international flights isn’t slated to return until next year, we’re seeing a significant demand for international travel from SMEs. As the world reopens, businesses and travellers are forging international relationships again to help increase their sales, expand into new markets, and source new partnerships. This will help drive the recovery of many industries in Australia and help improve our local economy.”

Walley added that Corporate Traveller has also seen early green shoots of international travel in the last few months across several industries, namely essential industries that continued travelling domestically in the last two years.

The report noted that the finance industry has been travelling the most, increasing its bookings by 224 per cent. This is followed by the medical industry, with a 103 per cent increase and then the construction industry, with a 60 per cent increase. Businesses in the consulting industry are also resuming international travel strongly, with bookings increasing by 50 per cent. The technology and mining industries have similarly experienced a healthy international travel revival, at 46 per cent and 25 per cent, respectively.

“The finance industry saw the most impressive increase in travel, as a large part of the industry would have largely relied on international video meetings during border closures, and re-booted its travel programs this year,” Walley said. “We believe other industries such as medical and construction – while growing their travel healthily in the last few months – were already maintaining their essential travelling and, as such, saw smaller increases this year. Throughout the year we’re likely to see other industries rebound their travel, including manufacturing, IT, and education.”

He also added, “Australia is also in the midst of a post-election transition to a new Government which is likely to see travel by Government employees increase significantly to continue to strengthen relationships with our international counterparts.”