THE Gold Coast's ties with China have just been given another shot in the arm after Hong Kog Airlines announced the launch of charter flights to the city early next year.
The plan marks the airline's entry to the Australian market with the flights expected to start in January and run through to the end of March.
The charter services will deliver over 10,000 inbound seats to the Gold Coast, predominately from mainland China via Hong Kong during the peak Chinese New Year period.
"This charter service will connect the Gold Coast with critical Chinese growth markets," says Gold Coast Tourism CEO Martin Winter.
"The commitment made today by Hong Kong Airlines is testament to the growing demand for Australia's Gold Coast from mainland China and the confidence of the Chinese travel industry in our destination being able to deliver world-class experiences for their customers.
"While this is an important first step, it is hoped that the success of the charter series will ultimately lead to a longer-term year-round scheduled service with Hong Kong Airlines into the Gold Coast."
Gold Coast Airport chief operating officer David Collins says the introduction of services from Hong Kong Airlines is a positive step in strengthening the Gold Coast's partnership with the airline, and ultimately the greater China market.
"Our business development and marketing team have been working with Hong Kong Airlines and distribution contacts in China for two years to bring this service to fruition," Collins says.
"We are well aware of the demand for services between Gold Coast and China, and are confident this three-weekly service will perform strongly during the extended charter period.
"During the last few years we have observed a significant increase in the number of Chinese passengers travelling through Gold Coast Airport and we are hopeful this will continue to grow.
"We've invested significantly over recent years to ensure we are China ready', from developing a dedicated department focused on this market to ensuring frontline staff in the terminal are well equipped with customer service skills targeted towards communicating with the Chinese market."
China is the Gold Coast's largest source of international tourism. In 2014, more than 202,000 Chinese visitors to the Gold Coast contributed more than $127 million dollars to the city's tourism economy - up 8 per cent on the previous year.
The agreement with Hong Kong Airlines is a result of a partnership between Gold Coast Tourism, Gold Coast Airport and Tourism and Events Queensland.
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