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Queensland set to welcome more Chinese visitors

Tourism Minister Kate Jones today announced a new aviation project to draw more Chinese visitors to Queensland, under the Government’s successful Advance Queensland: Connecting with Asia Strategy.

Ms Jones said the latest submission, put forward by a consortium of top tourism organisations from Brisbane, the Gold Coast and the Whitsundays, had recently been approved.

“China is our largest market for international visitors and delivers strong outcomes for our economy,” she said.

“Last year spending by Chinese visitors in our state reached $1 billion for the first time.

“We want to get more Chinese tourists into Queensland and make it easy for them to visit different parts of the state.

“This latest proposal focuses on passengers arriving into Brisbane, then dispersing to other parts of the state including the Whitsundays and the Gold Coast.

“This is the second proposal to gain in-principle approval under Connecting with Asia and I am confident the consortium will secure a strong strategic partnership for Queensland.

“The project aims to secure a new direct service between Beijing and Brisbane and increase the frequency of existing services.”

Ms Jones said the project, called Welcoming China to Southern Queensland and Beyond, was estimated to contribute millions of dollars in overnight visitor expenditure to the local tourism economy and support Queensland jobs.

“We know that tourism is a key growth industry for our state, with the potential to generate $34 billion by 2025, but to achieve these results we need to keep increasing our market share in Asia,” she said.

“Our $33.5 million Advance Queensland: Connecting with Asia Strategy matches industry contributions dollar-for-dollar enabling the consortium to pursue opportunities and implement initiatives to boost the growth of visitors from across Asia.

“Through our successful Attracting Aviation Investment Fund (AAIF), our Government has already attracted new services or extra flights from China, Hong Kong and Canada into the Gold Coast, Cairns and Brisbane.

“The AAIF has helped secure more than 600,000 extra international seats on nine new or expanded services – that’s around 200,000 seats per year. These additional seats have the potential to bring an extra $440 million in tourism expenditure for our economy.”

Andrew Brodie, Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) General Manager Aviation and Retail Management, welcomed the announcement.

“BAC is pleased to be partnering with the Queensland Government and other industry stakeholders to create a united force working to provide long-term benefits to the city and state,” he said.

“Brisbane Airport is experiencing significant growth from Asia, with passenger numbers from China increasing to more than 300,000 in 2016.

“The Connecting with Asia funding will assist in securing additional capacity from the three top tier cities in China, which will ultimately provide wide reaching returns for the city and state.

“While the tourism industry is a major beneficiary of Brisbane Airport’s extensive network and range of airlines, the benefits stretch much further, supporting freight, education, events and small businesses and creating economic opportunities for Queensland equating to more than $4 billion annually.

“BAC is absolutely committed to working with our regional counterparts to get the best connectivity for Queensland by building Brisbane as the future gateway to Australia.”

Ms Jones said the new project would position Queensland as the gateway to Australia for Asian and Chinese travellers.
“We know that Asian travellers have a real love affair with Queensland, with more than 1.15 million coming here in 2016, including 484,000 Chinese visitors,” she said.

“The Welcoming China to Southern Queensland and Beyond aims to accelerate visitor growth from tier one cities and surrounding regions in China including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

“The consortium, which includes Brisbane Marketing, Gold Coast Tourism, Tourism Whitsundays, Brisbane Airport Corporation, Tourism and Events Queensland and Tourism Australia, will now commence discussions in market to achieve the objectives of the project.”

The announcement comes ahead of Minister Jones’ trade mission to China from 24-31 March where she will meet with a range of senior in-market airline and tourism trade officials.