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Silk road of wealth from Shanghai to Melbourne.



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The Hon Fran Bailey MP Minister for Small Business and Tourism

Media Release

29 May 2007

SILK ROAD OF WEALTH FROM SHANGHAI TO MELBOURNE

The introduction of Melbourne to Shanghai Qantas direct flights will deliver a new silk road of wealth for Victorian tourism.

Today, Qantas announced it will introduce a new service between Melbourne and Shanghai, offering two flights a week from March 2008.

"The Silk Road of yesteryear spread wealth over 5,000 miles from China to Constantinople. Today, the new Silk Road is from China to the top tourism destinations of the world, courtesy of A-330s," Fran Bailey, Minister for Small Business and Tourism, said today.

"Chinese tourists are taking off for foreign destinations like never before. Globally, they are spending billions of dollars in their travels, with Australia one of the first stops on the new Silk Road."

Chinese tourists spent $1.1 billion in Australia in 2006, an increase of $193 million. By 2014, Chinese tourism is forecast to be worth $5.9 billion, making China our most valuable market.

To ensure Australia secures this strong growth, the Australian Government is implementing its Emerging Markets Strategy for China and India. This Strategy lays down practical initiatives for Tourism Australia, airlines and the tourism industry.

"More flights out of Melbourne is essential for the vitality of the Victorian tourism industry. That is why I have been lobbying for extra flights over the past 12 months," Fran Bailey said.

"I congratulate Qantas for its role in helping to grow this important market."

Tourism is now an $81 billion industry, creating jobs for more than 460,000 Australians and earning Australia $20.5 billion in tourism exports.

Media contact: Kevin Lowe 02 6277 7450 0408 404 468