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Cairns lands first direct flight from Korea

Tropical North Queensland tourism is taking off with new direct flights from Seoul to Cairns secured for the first time.

Tourism Minister Kate Jones said Cairns was the first airport in Australia to land a Jin Air service.

“The seasonal direct flights from Seoul to Cairns will get underway from December,” Ms Jones said.

“Cairns is only the third Australian airport to receive direct flights from Korea which shows the level of confidence international airlines have in Queensland.

“The twice weekly, seasonal service will start from December 2016 to February 2017, generating up to $7.5 million in economic impact and jobs in the Far North.

“With the forecast success of these seasonal services the airline is gearing towards making these flights year-round next year which would deliver $49 million in economic benefit.

“We have secured these flights with Tourism and Events Queensland through the Palaszczuk Government’s Attracting Aviation Investment Fund.”

Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ) Chief Executive Leanne Coddington signed the new partnership deal in a Memorandum of Understanding with Jin Air in Seoul today.

Member for Barron River Craig Crawford said the new seasonal flights would help grow tourism in the Far North.

“We have seen record numbers of visitors to Tropical North Queensland in the last 12 months with close to 2 million international and Australian visitors coming to our region,” Mr Crawford said.

“This new seasonal Jin Air flight will provide access for up to 5,000 extra visitors and a year-round service will grow to allow access for up to 41,000 visitors each year.

“Cairns is now only the second Queensland city with direct connections to South Korea, with Korean Air servicing Brisbane year-round.”

Ms Jones said Tourism Research Australia figures predicted annual growth of 4.7 per cent in Korean travellers visiting Australia across the next five years.

Ms Coddington said: “TEQ is committed to inspiring more visitors to come to Queensland by increasing access into the state’s international ports through the Attracting Aviation Investment Fund and other airline incentives.

“Queensland has seen exceptional growth in international visitor numbers and the Korean market is no different with an increase of 17.4 per cent for the same time last year.

“It’s fantastic that Korean and Asian visitors can now touchdown in Queensland on the doorstep of the Great Barrier Reef though these direct Jin Air flights.”

A Jin Air spokesperson said: “Under this MOU, we expect significant synergy in improving tourism industry and cultural exchanges between the countries.

We will do our best to provide our passenger visiting Cairns, one of the most famous leisure destinations in Australia, with reasonable flight experience based on the world-class service skills.”

Cairns Airport General Manager-Aeronautical Janice Antonson welcomed the announcement that Cairns would be the first Australian city on the Jin Air route network.

“We are so excited that Jin Air have chosen to bring visitors to Queensland via Cairns,” Ms Antonson said.

“This gives Queensland an excellent opportunity to build a new Korean visitor market.”

Tourism Tropical North Queensland Chief Executive Alex de Waal said the seasonal service would provide a great boost to the region.

“We are absolutely delighted to welcome Jin Air to the growing fleet of airlines that are connecting the world with the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef,” Mr de Waal said.

“We look forward to these guests creating memories of a lifetime in our fabulous tropical paradise, leaving only footprints and returning to visit time and again.”

The new route was secured through Tourism and Events Queensland, Tourism Australia and Cairns Airport. TEQ will work with Jin Air, Tourism Australia, Cairns Airport, Tourism Tropical North Queensland and the tourism industry on marketing activities to support the new route.