New research from a leading travel management provider reveals good news for Australia’s travel industry: 54% of SMEs plan to increase their travel this year, to match or exceed pre-pandemic levels.
The finding was derived from a survey of an independent panel of 202 Australian SME business owners, commissioned by Corporate Traveller, Flight Centre Travel Group’s flagship specialist SME division.
Corporate Traveller found 46% of SMEs plan to increase their travel to the same level as 2019, and 8% will travel more than they before the pandemic. Nearly half (46 per cent) of SMEs said will be travelling less than they did before the pandemic.
A larger proportion of medium-sized businesses (41 per cent) plan to travel more frequently this year, compared with 29 per cent of micro and small businesses who plan to do the same.
Corporate Traveller also asked respondents about their international travel plans this year. Over half (54%) revealed they will travel internationally. Among these, half (52%) will travel to South-East Asia, 34 per cent to the UK, 32 per cent to North America and 28% to Europe.
Tom Walley, Global Managing Director at Corporate Traveller, says: “With borders open and quarantining requirements dropped, it’s a given that businesses are bringing back their travel this year. Our survey sought to find out how promising the bounce back will be.
“We’re pleased to discover that businesses continue to place importance on travel which, for many companies, is often essential for their growth, expansion, staff retention, recruitment, and sales.
“The keenness for SMEs to return to the skies will help the recovery of the travel industry, MICE industry, and the Australian economy as a whole.”
Respondents were also asked to select the percentage of their travel that will be to Sydney, Melbourne, or Brisbane.
Sydney proved to be a popular destination for travel, with 56 per cent of respondents planning to dedicate more than 30% of their travel to the major city. In contrast, 51 per cent will dedicate more than 30% of their travel to Melbourne and 44 per cent to Brisbane.
“Businesses are emerging from two years of restrictions and are now ready to thrive. I believe a healthy return to international travel will continue throughout the year, benefitting the business sector and the economy as a result,” Mr Walley said.
“Having a travel consultant as a business traveller has never been more critical. Things will continue to evolve for a while yet, but if you have an expert you can rely on, then the ‘new normal’ in the travel world really is nothing to fear because they are your eyes and ears.”