News that Cairns is to benefit from the launch by China Eastern of new direct flights from Shanghai from October has been warmly welcomed by Tourism Australia, as a much needed boost for Tropical North Queensland and Australian tourism.
Tourism Australia Managing Director, Andrew McEvoy, believes the success in securing the services will enable the Australian tourism industry to further benefit from the fast growing market of China, and move it closer to its 2020 goal of doubling overnight tourism expenditure to up to A$140 billion by the end of the decade.
Tourism Australia will undertake joint marketing activities with China’s second largest airline to promote the new three times weekly Shanghai-Cairns seasonal services, including using traditional and digital media platforms.
“Once again, a coordinated ‘team Australia’ marketing approach - involving regional, state and federal tourism authorities in partnership with Cairns International Airport - has proved key to securing these much needed new air links,” Mr McEvoy said.
“The additional air capacity represents a huge boost to Cairns and Tropical North Queensland by opening up direct passenger and freight links from the key commercial city of Shanghai and beyond it, many of China’s secondary cities.
“Asia will generate close to A$19 billion a year by 2020 for Australian tourism, with China, our most valuable international tourism export market, remaining the key driver.
“The fact that 2.4 million Asian travellers - over 40 per cent of our total international visitors last year came to Australia was unprecedented, but with this level of growth it is important that we are focused on getting the supply side of the equation right,” Mr McEvoy said.
The launch of the three times weekly scheduled A330-200 services between Shanghai and Cairns follows a number of successful charters last year, which helped bring over 20,000 Chinese visitors into Cairns for Chinese New Year. The seasonal services will be reviewed after three years.
“With the number of Chinese visitors to Cairns and surrounding region up 39 per cent last year, the market is clearly there and I’m very hopeful that we’ll see China Eastern quickly ramp up its initial seasonal foray into more permanent arrangements,” Mr McEvoy said.
The China Eastern announcement follows a strong commercial approach by Cairns International Airport, the region and Tourism Queensland; as well as follow up meetings by Tourism Australia in Shanghai between the airline’s chairman Liu Shaoyang and Tourism Australia chairman Geoff Dixon and managing director Andrew McEvoy.
China Eastern’s home city of Shanghai was also chosen by Tourism Australia in June to launch the latest version of its global advertising campaign, There’s nothing like Australia, which has already been viewed and downloaded across China by nearly 20 million people alone.
Mr McEvoy said that Tourism Australia would continue to invest in airline marketing partnerships, focusing resources on where it believes its investment can add most value, shifting focus to the growth markets of China and South East Asia through existing and new partnerships such as China Eastern.
This financial year, Tourism Australia’s investment in cooperative marketing activities with airlines will deliver a projected value of over A$30m.