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Cheering data from new Flight Centre report

June 19, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Young travellers buy travel through people, not through websites, and shopfront presence is going to be even more important in the future. That piece of counter-intuition is one of a number of insights to emerge from Flight Centre on Friday.

Australia’s biggest retailer released its inaugural Turner Report – named after Flight Centre’s entrepreneurial chief executive, Graham ‘Skroo’ Turner. It offers plenty of information and a few surprises on Australian travel patterns, trends and experiences. There’s much encouragement for travel agents as well.

Flight Centre will launch between five and 15 new outlets in the coming year, some big. The Turner Report will become an annual event. The current edition reveals the scale of Australian travel movement in 2016 and breaks it down via postcode and other travel data. It’s available on a special Flight Centre website, from which a PDF copy of the report can be downloaded.

The report’s release also gave media the chance to tour Flight Centre’s flash new Brisbane headquarters, which even has its own railway station. It offers employees everything from an excellently equipped gym to dining and recreational facilities and spacious workspace with great views across the Brisbane skyline.

Turner said on Friday that this was the Golden age of Travel and Aussies were cashing in. Australian government figures showed that outbound travel had more than doubled in the 10 years between 2006 and 2016.

“Flights are becoming more affordable and in 2017 we have advertised some of the cheapest fares we’ve ever seen,” Turner said. He said fares that took three months’ salary to afford in the 1970s now took one week’s salary.

The report reveals the average Australian traveller – and Flight Centre customer – is a 47-year-old male who travels for 15 days, plans his trips 56 days in advance and tends to visit a Flight Centre store to inquire in person.

The biggest spenders are in the 50-54 year age group but travel is in hot demand across the board and fairly evenly spread, with the number of young customers aged 15-19 having increased by a massive 40% in 2016, measured against the previous year.

Domestic destinations on the rise included Uluru (up 12%), the Sunshine Coast (up 11%) and Cairns (up 10%), while New Caledonia went ballistic, registering a 42% increase among Flight Centre customers. Japan climbed by 18% (on the back of an excellent snow season) and Vanuatu shot up by 17%.

Fast way to get between floors at Flight Centre’s new Brisbane headquarters


Meanwhile, overall travel to France by Australians dropped 17% last year, the Flight Centre data showed, as continuing issues with terrorism and several  attacks across Paris and Nice from 2014 onward shook consumer confidence in one of the retailer’s most popular destinations.

Despite that, Aussies remained optimistic and resolute over the past year in their desire to travel abroad in the face of changing and challenging global conditions. Despite rising terrorist threats and other geopolitical tensions, travel by Australians increased.

Written by Peter Needham

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