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Expanded Air Services a boon to Australia's tourism industry

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Minister for Resources and Energy, Minister for Tourism

Expanded Air Services a Boon to Australia's Tourism Industry 10 November 2011

Qantas’ announcement today of new A380 flights from Sydney to Hong Kong starting next year as well as additional A380 flights to Los Angeles and to London via Singapore will boost capacity and the quality of travel between Australia and key tourism markets.

Minister for Tourism, Martin Ferguson AM MP, welcomed Qantas’ announcement as a boost for consumer choice and competition on traditionally important tourism routes to the United Kingdom and the United States as well as growth areas in Asia.

“Increased air services are vital to continued growth for Australia’s $34 billion tourism industry,” Minister Ferguson said.

“Today’s announcement by Qantas is very welcome. It taps into some of our key markets with benefits to both Qantas and tourism operators more broadly.

“The United Kingdom has for decades been our most valuable inbound tourism market. In the September quarter last year it was overtaken by China for the first time.

“Larger and more comfortable Qantas A380s to Hong Kong is a welcome addition to competition on this key route and further strengthens links for Chinese tourists with Hong Kong serving as a key regional hub.”

There were 166,000 total visitors from Hong Kong for the twelve months to September 2011, a 3.1% increase for the same period of the previous year. Hong Kong visitors spent $819 million visiting Australia in the 12 months to June 2011, a 13% increase compared with the same period of the previous year.

The Airbus A380 is the largest passenger airliner in the world, at least four decibels quieter than the Boeing 747-400 equating to a perceived 50 percent reduction in noise levels, more fuel efficient, and Qantas A380s offer four classes of service to cater for business and leisure travellers.

“This addition of travel options between Australia and key Asian markets comes on the back of the commencement of direct flights from China to Perth by China Southern Airlines opening up opportunities for tourism operators in Western Australia to take advantage of the immense growth in outbound tourists from China,” Minister Ferguson said.

“The Federal Government’s efforts through air services talks between Australia and China have resulted in a 55 per cent increase in available capacity entitlements, phased over twelve months.

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“The figures released by Minister Albanese today show record international passenger movements last financial year.

“The increased air services the Government continues to negotiate will help ensure that we see more and more international visitor arrivals to Australia to help keep our tourism industry strong through what have been trying times.”

Last financial year 475,000 Chinese tourists visited Australia, an increase of 26 per cent on the previous 12 month period. The average annual growth in arrivals from China is forecast at 7.2 per cent per year until 2020. This equates to 908,000 arrivals from China in 2020, with these visitors expected to contribute as much as $9 billion to Australia’s economy.

Media Contact:

Fiona Scott - 0457 542 330

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