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Benefits flowing from Federal support for North Queensland tourism.

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Minister for Resources and Energy, Minister for Tourism

BENEFITS FLOWING FROM FEDERAL SUPPORT FOR NORTH QUEENSLAND TOURISM The Minister for Tourism, Martin Ferguson AM MP, on September 8 announced $750,000 to promote charter flights into Cairns to assist the local tourism industry deal with reduced airline services.

The funding was the first instalment of the Federal Government's $4 million Tropical North Queensland package. Federal support for the Cairns tourism industry also includes an additional $2 million of Tourism Australia funding being reprioritised in Japan towards activities which support and benefit Tropical North Queensland, including its ‘World Heritage Campaign’.

The Federal Government can today announce the September funding of charter flights has so far resulted in five airlines announcing they will fly charters into Cairns. These charters will see more than 6,500 additional tourists arriving in Cairns Airport in the coming months.

More than half of the passengers will be from Japan, but a very significant number will also be from China (7.5%), Taiwan (18%) and Hong Kong (21%) during the Chinese New Year period.

The activity from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China is generating business for Tropical North Queensland during a period which would otherwise have seen a significant absence of Japanese visitors following the cessation of flights in December.

The new flights include a series of three charters to be operated by SkyAirWorld which is supported by a number of Cairns-based companies. The flights will operate between Nagoya and Cairns during the important ‘Golden Week’ holiday season in Japan during April and May 2009. The Federal Government’s assistance has been critical in securing these flights and will be used to drive sales for the charters by travel agents in Japan which could lead to a regular charter series from western Japan.

China Airlines which is the largest airline in Taiwan - and one of Asia’s leading airlines - responded positively to Tourism Australia’s proposal for charter flights during the Chinese New Year holiday season. More seasonal charters as well as longer term regular flights could be considered if the charter series is successful. The charters are being backed by five of the top travel agents in Taiwan, and reflect a growing demand.

Minister Ferguson said: "The Government has worked closely with the local industry to make sure this money is spent appropriately. The spending has been - and will continue to be - well targeted so that we can maximise the economic benefit for Tropical North Queensland.

"Of course, these are only early days and we expect that we will be able to report more charter announcements in the weeks and months ahead.

"Tourism Australia is continuing to pursue other charter opportunities from Japan, particularly for

RET Minister > The Hon Martin Ferguson AM MP

The Hon Martin Ferguson AM MP

20 Nov 2008

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the April-May period, and is pleased to report that the $750,000 is already getting good results. It is also very pleasing to see new opportunities for Cairns - such as southern China - are also going to boost visitor numbers."

Minister Ferguson last month announced the second instalment in the Australian Government's funding for projects which will help the North Queensland tourism industry respond to reductions in airline capacity; a $640,000 commitment to support research into emerging markets for Tropical North Queensland in consideration of changing consumer trends and increasing global competition.

Minister Ferguson will travel from Tokyo to Cairns on Friday November 21, to make another significant funding announcement relating to the Government's $4 million package.

Media contact: Michael Bradley - 0420 371 744

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