China promises to boost figures
THE Douglas Shire could be buzzing with Chinese visitors in the typical “quiet time” as early as this December.
More than 33,000 Chinese visitors are expected to touch down within the next year to pump at least $90 million into the region after a landmark agreement was reached for direct flights to Cairns.
China Southern Airlines will run three flights a week from Guangzhou to Cairns starting this December.
Tara Bennett, executive officer of Tourism Port Douglas and Daintree welcomes the news and hopes to see the flights boost visitation in the wet season.
“It’s great, news,” she said.
“It will help alleviate the downturn we experience.
“Their traditional travelling time is our quieter time and that’s why this market is so attractive.
“Destination weddings have been identified as one of the opportunities for us as well as the more adventurous Chinese travellers who are wanting to get away from the mainstream experience.
“That’s where Port Douglas and the Daintree can be attractive to them.”
The Mossman Gorge, wildlife attractions and visits to the reef will be on the radar for incoming Chinese tourists as it’s really big well as sampling Australian produce.
“It’s a really good opportunity for a lot of our different sectors to benefit from their visitation,” said Ms Bennett.
The flights will not only attract an influx of Chinese tourists but it will open airways for tourists travelling from Europe.
“We see it as an opportunity not just for Chinese travellers but some of our more traditional western markets to have better aviation access to the region,” Tara said.
“Any new aviation into Cairns provides a great oppor- tunity for our region.”
Treasurer Curtis Pitt said the new flights were a gamechanger for the region.
“This is great news for tourism and jobs in the Far North,” he said.
“This is the first time we’ve been able to offer direct access to Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef from mainland China.
“The extra visitation region will help grow the economy and jobs and support business.”
Treasurer Curtis Pitt with Chinese tourists celebrate the announcement of direct flights.