Hainan Airlines will be flying twice a week between Shenzhen and Cairns with an expected additional 30,000 Chinese visitors over two years which will provide a significant boost for the local tourism industry.
The far north economy is set for a $64 million injection with Hainan Airlines to fly twice a week between Shenzhen and Cairns.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk today announced Minister for Tourism and Major Events Kate Jones had signed the major deal with Hainan Airlines in Beijing this week.
The Hainan Airlines flights are expected to attract an additional 30,000 Chinese visitors over two years.
The Premier said the new flights, secured through her Government’s $10 million Attracting Aviation Investment Fund, would allow Cairns to capitalise on Queensland’s most valuable and fastest growing international market.
“We know that Chinese travellers are extremely valuable to the Queensland economy, injecting $1 billion over the past year,” she said.
“This latest agreement ensures that Cairns is well placed to continue attracting large numbers of Chinese visitors.
“These new flights, delivered in partnership with Cairns Airport and Tourism and Events Queensland, will open up additional opportunities for travellers to experience everything the north of our state has to offer.”
Ms Jones said the new Hainan Airlines flights to Cairns would bring thousands of Chinese travellers face-to-face with the Great Barrier Reef.
“Agreements like this also mean that we are one step closer to reaching our goal of making Queensland the Australian destination of choice for Chinese travellers,” she said.
“We have been laser focused in our determination to secure more international flights for Cairns and grow tourism and tourism jobs in the region.
“With up to 30,000 visitors expected to arrive on these services over two years, they’ll provide a significant boost for the local tourism industry, as well as other flow-on benefits for the local economy, supporting almost 500 jobs across the region.”
Vice president of Hainan Airlines, Mr Hou Wei, said the service opened up new economic opportunities between China and Queensland.
“Following the Brisbane route Hainan Airlines announced this past July, the Cairns route will be Hainan Airlines’ second route connecting China and Queensland and sixth route operating between China and Australia,” Mr Hou said.
Cairns Airport Chief Executive Officer Norris Carter said he looked forward to welcoming Hainan Airlines to Cairns in December.
“This new direct route from Shenzhen in mainland China to Cairns will provide more opportunities for visitors from China and beyond to holiday in Cairns and Tropical North Queensland,” Mr Carter said.
“Currently, most international visitors to Cairns arrive and depart on domestic flights. With more direct international flights making it faster and easier to get to Cairns, we expect to welcome even more visitors to experience the World Heritage Great Barrier Reef, Tropical Rainforests and the many other attractions on offer here.
“Hainan Airlines operates an extensive network throughout China, and to Asia, Europe, America and Oceania.”
Tourism Tropical North Queensland (TTNQ) Chief Executive Officer Pip Close said TTNQ and its members have long been working with Tourism and Events Queensland and Tourism Australia in building the Cairns and Great Barrier Reef brand in China.
“This announcement of Hainan Airlines scheduled services from Shenzhen is a great boost for the region,” Ms Close said.
The announcement forms part of the 2017 China-Australia Year of Tourism, with the first flight expected to land in Cairns in December.
The Attracting Aviation Investment Fund is a $10 million funding commitment by the Palaszczuk Government to support new or expanding airlines to bring more passengers to Queensland by securing greater international aviation access.
Premier and Minister for the Arts, The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk & Minister for Education and Minister for Tourism, Major Events and the Commonwealth Games, The Honourable Kate Jones