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Domestic business travel up as leisure market wanes

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The latest monthly figures from Tourism Research Australia are good news for business events.

The pent-up demand for leisure travel appears to have unwound, with the overall number of trips and the number of nights spent away from home for any purpose in April 2023 down on the same month in both 2022 and 2019. Nationally, spending was also down two per cent on 2022 but up 29 per cent on 2019 figures.

Significantly, business travel spend in April this year was up nine per cent on April 2019 figures and a huge 55 per cent on April 2022 figures, reflecting the easing of concern around corporate and organisational travel since Australia emerged from COVID lockdowns into its largest COVID wave to date. In April 2023, business travel spend was at $2 billion.

Although spend was down on average compared to April last year, South Australia has reported its highest visitor spend on record for a single month in April – with Adelaide having the second highest hotel occupancy across 14 major cities in Australia and New Zealand.

Looking at annual figures to the end of April, Queensland has fared best by far across Australia, with spend growing 48 per cent and the change in the number of domestic overnight trips remaining flat.

Coming in a distant second for spend was the Northern Territory, with a spend growth of 34 per cent.

Western Australia was the only state to post a positive growth in the number of trips taken, but this may be reflective of the state keeping a hard border with the rest of the country until the beginning of March last year, pushing back the flush out of pent-up demand. Spend in Western Australia was up 31 per cent.

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