Tropical North Queensland will deliver tens of thousands of visitors to Queensland with the announcement on June 30th that China Southern Airlines will operate three flights a week direct from Guangzhou to Cairns from December.
Tourism Tropical North Queensland (TTNQ) Chair Max Shepherd said it was incredibly rewarding for the destination to have direct China services confirmed as it would provide a substantial opportunity to build on the growth in arrivals from the region’s number one source market.
“Established under the Queensland Government’s $33.5 million Advance Queensland: Connecting with Asia initiative, this will be the first direct year-round service from mainland China to Cairns,” he said.
“The China Southern flights will inject $30.8 million in overnight visitor expenditure for the region in the first year and $90 million over three years with three flights per week delivering 33,852 seats on an A330-200 aircraft. The establishment of scheduled services from the world’s largest tourism market will connect new consumers to Australia and create profound opportunities for the Tropical North Queensland industry.
“TTNQ developed the concept for Australia’s Tropical Resort Holiday Destination two and a half years ago as a catalyst for the introduction of direct flights to Cairns. Since then we have worked diligently with our partners to position our region not only as a group holiday destination, but as a potential mono-destination for the Chinese market, tapping into the rapidly growing free independent traveller (FIT) market.
“Australia caters very well to the multi-destination visitor, but a very large proportion of the FIT market is currently travelling to Guam, Singapore, Malaysia, the Maldives and Hawaii. The State Government investment in partnership with Cairns Airport, Cairns Regional Council and TTNQ will open this very rich vein of opportunity, not only for Tropical North Queensland, but for Australia as a whole. It will also offer the opportunity for visitors to stay longer and disperse further throughout the region.
“Growth from China continued for the year ending March 2017 delivering 218,000 visitors to Tropical North Queensland, an 8.8 per cent increase which represented more than half of Queensland’s 406,000 Chinese holiday visitors. Direct flights will allow us to tap into the positive response from both the Chinese travel industry at the recent Australian Tourism Exchange and the rapidly growing online travel agents in China.”
Cairns Airport Chief Executive Officer Norris Carter said this was great news for Cairns to receive during the 2017 China Australia Year of Tourism.
“We look forward to rolling out the red carpet for China Southern’s first flight in December,” Mr Carter said.
“The service from Guangzhou will provide more convenient access to Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef for the world’s largest visitor source market. In addition, it opens up the ‘Canton Route’ for travel between Europe and Cairns. Whether as a standalone visit or as part of a longer Queensland and Australian itinerary taking advantage of our extensive domestic connections, visitors from mainland China, other parts of Asia and Europe using the China Southern service will be able to spend more of their time enjoying their holiday rather than travelling. These flights will also offer new opportunities for our region’s high quality primary produce to be exported to China.”
Cairns Mayor Bob Manning said it was wonderful news for the region and something the Council and its partners had been working toward for a long time.
“Cairns’ tourism product continues to grow and the addition of any new international flight contributes to our region’s success,” he said.
“The introduction of year-round flights will further increase Chinese access to Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef, with the benefits to flow through to every part of our local economy. I’d like to thank Tourism Minister Kate Jones and everyone involved in delivering this great boost for Cairns’ and Queensland’s tourism industries.”
Mr Shepherd said the direct flights were an outstanding example of a great partnership between China Southern Airlines, Cairns Airport, Cairns Regional Council, TTNQ, Tourism Australia and Tourism and Events Queensland to collaboratively develop, invest in, and deliver a fully integrated campaign to market Tropical North Queensland to the resort holiday traveller in China.