AUSTRALIA has become the biggest airport for business and tourism in the world, according to the world’s biggest business and travel publication, the New York Times.
The Times said it had a total of 9,000 business and leisure travelers who travelled to the United States in 2016, up 9.5 per cent from the previous year.
The rise of business travel was also linked to the rise in the number of travellers on short-term holidays and to a new travel industry called airbnb.
Airbnb is a service where hosts can rent rooms and accommodation for short periods of time and host visitors in their own homes.
It has attracted a growing number of people to the country, but it has also sparked controversy because it has been described as a “ghost town” by the Federal Government and concerns have been raised about potential air pollution in some cities.
In 2016, there were 2,917,000 air travel departures and arrivals in Australia, compared to 672,000 in 2015.
Business travel was the second-biggest contributor to the total, with a total increase of 6.7 per cent.
Air travel to the US grew more than 50 per cent to 9.2 million, while air travel to Europe grew by 5 per cent, the Times said.
The US is home to nearly 80 per cent of the world population, with about 90 per cent living in cities such as New York and Los Angeles.
It’s not clear how many business travellers have booked flights to the USA, but the Times says it is “expected to be the most popular destination for air travel”.
The airline industry is expected to generate $4.4 billion in revenues in the next four years, the report said.