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Brisbane crowned Australia’s ‘Bleisure’ capital amid economic boom

Figures from Corporate Traveller reveal that inbound travellers to Brisbane are now spending an average of 5.2 days in the city

Brisbane has outstripped Sydney and Melbourne as Australia’s premier ‘bleisure’ destination, driven by robust economic growth and increased business travel, according to new data from Corporate Traveller, the SME division of Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG).

The analysis of flight booking data from October 2023 to March 2024 revealed that inbound travellers to Brisbane are now spending an average of 5.2 days in the city, surpassing Sydney’s 4.1 days and Melbourne’s 4.6 days. Brisbane has also outperformed the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast, where the average stay for business and leisure travellers is 4.5 and 4.6 days, respectively.

A key driver behind this surge is Brisbane’s thriving economy. The city boasts the highest density of innovation hubs per capita in Australia, with manufacturing exports and growth leading the nation. An economic forecast predicts Brisbane’s economy will soar by 68 percent over the next 20 years.

Corporate Traveller’s data shows that Queensland’s vital economic sectors, such as mining, oil, and gas, accounted for 17 percent of business travel bookings over the six months to the end of March. The construction sector followed closely at 16 percent, with health care and social assistance (12 percent), services (10 percent), and manufacturing (9 percent) rounding out the top five sectors. Overall, business travel bookings increased by seven per cent year-on-year.

With May designated as Small Business Month in Queensland, Tom Walley, the Australia-based Global Managing Director for FCTG’s Corporate Traveller, emphasised the significant opportunities for the city’s SMEs, especially given Brisbane’s ability to captivate visitors for durations that extend well beyond the work week.

He said: “Brisbane has become one of the nation’s most thriving cities over the past couple of years and that’s partially thanks to mass migration from southerners craving sunshine and a more relaxed lifestyle during the pandemic, and partly thanks to the allure of the upcoming 2032 Brisbane Games.

“Both the Games and booming population mean more homes and a lot of infrastructure needs to be quickly constructed in and around the city, which is one of the reasons why business travellers in the construction sector were the second largest cohort of travellers to the Queensland capital over the past year.

“And with mining being the State’s biggest industry, at more than $86 billion, it’s no surprise this sector collected the most business traveller bookings.

“Add the city’s extraordinary infrastructure injection into tourist hot spots such as Queens Wharf and its burgeoning restaurant scene and it’s easy to see how the once ‘big country town’ of Australian capitals has overtaken its bigger southern counterparts to become the ‘bleisure’ epicentre.

Photo by Brisbane Local Marketing on Unsplash

“For the city’s small and medium-sized businesses, this presents a chance for SMEs to get to know what business travellers want and what our savviest customers are looking for.

Recent data from Corporate Traveller highlights that business travellers are increasingly focusing on maximising value and getting the most out of their ‘bleisure’ trips.

Walley says, “The business travel sector continues to thrive, with more corporate travellers choosing hotels that offer reward programs and extra value, particularly as travel expenses have risen.

“By making informed choices and booking a few weeks in advance to secure better rates, our clients are saving thousands on corporate travel. These savings allow them to extend their city stays and contribute more to local economies.”

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