BRIS­BANE TO BEI­JING DI­RECT FLIGHTS TAKE OFF

Di­rect Bris­bane to Bei­jing flights to rake in $190m

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - FRONT PAGE - SARAH VOGLER

QUEENS­LAND has won a big­ger slice of the Chi­nese tourism mar­ket with a new air­line deal that’s tipped to in­ject more than $190 mil­lion into the state’s econ­omy.

Air China will be­gin fly­ing di­rect from Bei­jing to Bris­bane four times a week from De­cem­ber un­der a deal the State Gov­ern­ment hopes will put Syd­ney and Mel­bourne on no­tice.

A ma­jor coup for Queens­land, the deal was reached un­der the Gov­ern­ment’s $33.5 mil­lion Con­nect­ing with Asia fund in which it com­mits cash that is matched by or­gan­i­sa­tions in­clud­ing the Bris­bane Air­port Cor­po­ra­tion, Bris­bane Mar­ket­ing, Gold Coast Tourism, Tourism & Events Queens­land, Tourism Whit­sun­days and Tourism Aus­tralia.

Premier An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk said it was hoped the flights would bring up to 170,000 pas­sen­gers to Queens- land over the next four years, with the deal worth at least $191 mil­lion to the state’s econ­omy.

“We know the best way to grow tourism in Queens­land is to se­cure more di­rect in­ter­na­tional flights,” she said. “Se­cur­ing flights from China’s cap­i­tal city for the first time is a big coup for Queens­land, open­ing up new op­por­tu­ni­ties to tap into this valu­able mar­ket.”

Boost­ing ef­forts to se­cure more di­rect in­ter­na­tional routes, in­clud­ing new Chi­nese des­ti­na­tions, was a key point of the re­cent Fu­ture Bris­bane se­ries in The Courier-Mail and The Sun­day Mail.

The deal was se­cured dur­ing Tourism Min­is­ter Kate Jones’ trade mis­sion to China last month.

Ms Jones said it would pro­vide Queens­land with a ma­jor ad­van­tage as it bat­tles against Syd­ney and Mel­bourne for a share of the boom­ing Chi­nese tourist mar­ket. The flights will also be a bonus for Queens­land busi­nesses hop­ing to ex­pand into China.

“China is Queens­land’s largest in­ter­na­tional mar­ket, gen­er­at­ing close to a fifth of Queens­land’s to­tal tourism ex­pen­di­ture, with visi­tors spend­ing $1 bil­lion over the past year,” Ms Jones said.

Fed­eral Tourism Min­is­ter Steven Ciobo said the ex­tra flights were cru­cial to in­creas- ing the Chi­nese tourism mar­ket in Aus­tralia, al­ready worth about $10 bil­lion a year to the coun­try.

“With the po­ten­tial to be worth up to $13 bil­lion by the year 2020, it is cru­cial that Aus­tralia con­tin­ues to strengthen its ties with China to help re­alise the full po­ten­tial of this mar­ket,” he said.

The flights will ar­rive from Bei­jing at 3.10pm and leave Bris­bane at 7.30pm, on Mon­days, Wed­nes­days, Fri­days and Sun­days, from De­cem­ber 11.

The sig­nif­i­cance of Mantra boss Bob East be­ing ap­pointed the new Tourism Aus­tralia chair­man should not be lost on Queens­lan­ders. The Gold Coast-based Mr East is a fierce and pas­sion­ate sup­porter of tourism in Queens­land and he now as­sumes the na­tion’s top ad­vo­cacy role.

He was ap­pointed by a Queens­land­based politi­cian, Steve Ciobo, the Fed­eral Tourism and Trade Min­is­ter. The chief ex­ec­u­tive of Tourism Aus­tralia is John O’Sullivan, the for­mer head of events in Queens­land. It’s a rosy po­si­tion for the Sun­shine State. The three key de­ci­sion­mak­ers in Aus­tralian tourism are Queens­lan­ders to the core.

That tri­umvi­rate of power makes to­day’s Chi­nese avi­a­tion an­nounce­ment by Tourism Min­is­ter Kate Jones even more pre­scient. The new air­line deal is ex­pected to in­ject more than $190 mil­lion into the state’s econ­omy.

Air China will be­gin fly­ing di­rect from Bei­jing to Bris­bane four times a week from De­cem­ber un­der the deal the Palaszczuk Gov­ern­ment hopes will put Syd­ney and Mel­bourne on no­tice. The deal was reached un­der the Gov­ern­ment’s $33.5 mil­lion Con­nect­ing with Asia fund in which the state com­mits cash that is then matched by or­gan­i­sa­tions, in­clud­ing the Bris­bane Air­port Cor­po­ra­tion, Bris­bane Mar­ket­ing, Gold Coast Tourism, Tourism Events Queens­land, Tourism Whit­sun­days and Tourism Aus­tralia in a bid to at­tract air­lines to Queens­land.

Premier An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk said it was hoped the flights would bring nearly 170,000 pas­sen­gers to Queens­land over the next four years alone. Mr Ciobo said the ex­tra flights were cru­cial to grow­ing the Chi­nese tourism mar­ket in Aus­tralia, al­ready worth about $10 bil­lion a year to the coun­try. In an eco­nomic cli­mate chal­lenged by so many fac­tors, tourism re­mains a stand­out per­former for Queens­land. We are the No. 1 as­pi­ra­tional des­ti­na­tion for just about ev­ery coun­try in the world. The Great Bar­rier Reef and the state’s beaches are seen as the most de­sir­able of all Aus­tralian at­trac­tions. And now Queens­land has started to ex­ploit the value of big events.

The Jeff Horn – Manny Pac­quiao fight at­tracted hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars in in­ter­na­tional ex­po­sure for Queens­land. Queens­land will not sit by any­more and watch Victoria and NSW take the ma­jor events. With Har­vey Lis­ter’s plan to build a 17,000-seat mega sta­dium in the heart of Bris­bane get­ting the sup­port of both the Gov­ern­ment and the LNP, the time is ripe for Queens­land to ex­pand on its events tourism strat­egy. A stand alone events port­fo­lio, with a ded­i­cated min­is­ter, is worth pur­su­ing be­cause of the huge eco­nomic num­bers on the ta­ble.

Victoria does it. Las Ve­gas does it. So too does Ma­cau. If Queens­land wants to be suc­cess­ful as an events draw­card – a city alive to bring­ing the big­gest sport­ing, cul­tural and en­ter­tain­ment shows in the world – we must think glob­ally. We have the weather, the pop­u­la­tion base and the en­tre­pre­neur­ial spirit to pull it off. We now need the po­lit­i­cal will.

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