A delegation of Queensland State officials welcomed China’s Hainan Airlines to Australia’s tropical north, after the first direct flight from Shenzhen to Cairns landed safely yesterday morning.
Queensland State Tourism Minister Kate Jones described the new route, with two flights per week, as a “game changer” for the region.
“With a travel time of just under eight hours, this will provide the quickest route for Chinese travelers to Australia,” Jones said.
“And provide tourists direct access to two World Heritage-listed natural wonders — the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics Rainforest.”
The flight path is expected to bring more than 30,000 Chinese visitors to Cairns over the next two years and is set to boost the region’s economy by over US$50 million.
As Queensland’s most valuable and fastest-growing international market, Chinese tourism has been rapidly increasing in the state’s tropical north.
Despite the area’s idyllic white sand beaches and sundrenched attractions, the lack of direct access from the Chinese mainland has proved somewhat of a barrier for local tourism operators and hindered the state government’s goal of making the area the most desired location for Chinese visitors.
Cairns Airport chief executive officer Norris Carter said that with direct flights now operating, it will be much easier to capitalize on the market.
“With more than 80 percent of our Chinese visitors currently using a domestic flight to get to and from Cairns, this new service will enable them to spend less time traveling and more time enjoying everything tropical North Queensland has to offer,” he said. (Xinhua)