CHINA Southern Airlines’ first direct flight from Guangzhou to Brisbane landed today, making history with a route that could bolster Queensland’s struggling tourism industry.
The high Australian dollar has led to fewer Australians travelling domestically, but the airline’s capacity for 3600 more Chinese visitors a month will be a significant boost for the sector.
Based on recent spending, if all the planes were full it could mean a $7.6 million injection into the economy each month. Around 158,000 Chinese visited the sunshine state in the year to June, spending $333 million.
The Premier Anna Bligh was on hand to welcome visitors on the maiden voyage.
“It's terrific news that China Southern Airlines now flies three times a week between Guangzhou and Brisbane. The arrival of this first flight is the culmination of extensive negotiations between our government, the airline, Tourism Queensland and Brisbane Airport Corporation,” she says.
Tourism Minister Peter Lawlor says the airline and Tourism Queensland have done great work to promote the flights in China, with a $520,000 marketing and promotional campaign partnership.
“During my visit to Guangzhou recently, I was fortunate enough to meet with China Southern dignitaries and sign a cooperative marketing agreement between Tourism Queensland and the airline," he says.
"Previously Chinese visitors had to transit through Sydney or Melbourne to get to Queensland, so providing the option for Chinese travellers to fly direct into Brisbane and easily connect to a range of Queensland destinations allows them to bypass the southern states and spend more time in Queensland.”
China Southern Airlines CEO Tan Wangeng will speak tomorrow at the Queensland Tourism Industry Council Business Luncheon at Rydges South Bank.
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