Regional Australia is set to benefit from increased international visitors as the Qantas-Emirates network delivers on its promise to boost inbound tourism.
Outside the city gateways, regional centres such as Cairns, Coffs Harbour and Hobart are showing positive initial signs as new destinations on the Emirates network.
Since selling on the joint network began in January, Emirates customers from the United Kingdom, Europe, North Africa, South East Asia and the Middle East have purchased an average of three times more fares to leading regional centres including Hobart, Coffs Harbour and Cairns than under the previous partnership.
Qantas executive manager of international sales, Stephen Thompson, said inbound tourism would benefit from Emirates selling seamless itineraries to some of Australia’s most popular regional centres.
“As a result of our partnership with Emirates, our regional centres are being promoted to a bigger audience than ever before,” Thompson said.
“We have already seen strong bookings for new codeshare destinations across Australia including Townsville, Darwin, Launceston, Alice Springs, Devonport, Rockhampton, Broome and the Gold Coast.
“As well as making travel within Australia easier for visitors, with one fare and one ticket, the Qantas-Emirates partnership also provides tourism operators with new opportunities to capitalise on the international tourists visiting the country.
“Tourism is a huge economic driver for Australia, creating jobs and promoting investment and development.”
Emirates is offering a total of 32 destinations on the Qantas Domestic network to its global customer base.
Thompson said Qantas had seen strong inbound sales from the United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Singapore, Thailand and Italy in particular but said that Australian travellers also stood to benefit.
“The Qantas-Emirates partnership promises world class travel experiences with more one-stop access to and from Europe, shorter travel times, cheaper airfares and exclusive frequent flyer benefits,” he said.
Prior to its partnership with Emirates, the Qantas network offered five one-stop codeshare destinations into Europe and the UK.
It now offers access to more than 30 destinations in Europe on the combined network.
Qantas customers will also now shave an average of two hours and 15 minutes of their journey time to the top ten destinations in Europe (from Sydney and Melbourne), compared with the former network.