Tourism in North Queensland is set to benefit with China’s largest carrier, China Southern, introducing a new service between Guangzhou and Cairns.

Australia’s Minister for Tourism, Martin Ferguson has welcomed the new services, saying the nation must continue to capture to booming Chinese outbound market.

“China is important to the tourism industry in Australia,” Ferguson said. “The latest data shows that China recently overtook the UK to become Australia’s second largest source of international visitors, and visitors from China are staying longer and spending more which is great for our economy.

“This new service by China Southern strengthens aviation links with the region and will help Australia tap into the potential AUD$9 billion spend from Chinese visitors by the end of the decade identified in the ‘Tourism 2020’ strategy.

“Tourism Australia will used the new AUD$48.5 million Asian Marketing Fund to play an important role in fostering this demand by marketing Australia in more Chinese cities.”

China Southern will fly the route three times a week, with services routed through Brisbane. Cairns is the airline’s fifth Australian destination adding to flights to Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne, and Sydney.

Senator for Queensland, Jan McLucas, highlighted the importance of international aviation links to attracting international visitors to North Queensland.

“Thanks to China Southern’s new flights, and other increased international flights, Cairns will receive more Chinese visitors eager to experience the Great Barrier Reef, Wet Tropics rainforests and North Queensland’s other world-class attractions,” Senator McLucas said.

The new service utilises the Government’s Enhanced Regional Package. The package permits additional access to Australia’s gateways, such as Brisbane, if flights operate via a regional international airport, such as Cairns, in at least one direction.

China Southern’s expansion into North Queensland follows the entry of China Eastern Airlines into the Cairns market in October 2012.

James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management