Corporate New Zealand's quick to return to air travel providing massive boost to travel industry

Corporate travel in NZ is recovering much quicker than most of the world.
Corporate travel in NZ is recovering much quicker than most of the world. Photo credit: Getty.

Zoom may have been one of the buzzwords of 2020, but more and more New Zealand businesses are returning to a different kind of zooming: flying.

Research from travel management company FCM Travel Solutions - which is part of the Flight Centre Travel Group - shows a staggering 56 percent of New Zealand businesses have employees and executives flying as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on internationally.

That puts Aotearoa's rate six percent above the global average.   

Nick Queale, General Manager Flight Centre Corporate says FCM bookings show that after the first period of national lockdown and compared to the same time last year, travel bookings returned to 11 percent within one week, and 24 percent within five weeks.

"Following the country's recent return back down to Alert Level 1, we've seen travel bookings return to 37 percent in one week, and 44 percent within five weeks. Kiwis have become less wary of travel, they're adapting to a new way of living, taking precautions and getting on with the job," Queale said.

Corporate travel is a major player in the recovery of airlines in Aotearoa, with domestic airline capacity returning among the fastest worldwide at 80 percent of pre-COVID levels, joined by China and Vietnam. New Zealand is faring much better than across the ditch, with Australia operating at only 21 percent airline capacity due to interstate restrictions.  

Remote work has grown hugely this year, but video conferencing won't replace face to face interaction said Queale.

"COVID-19 has changed the way we work, but tech has its limitations. What we are seeing is that businesses are still investing in employee travel and in-person meetings, but they're cracking down on budgets; making sure that travel is truly necessary and that the most is made of each trip".