The Queensland Government has teamed up with Queensland’s major airports to invest $200 million into fast-tracking international flights to the Sunshine State.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed her government would provide $100 million dollars over the next four years which would be matched by the state’s four largest airports, the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast and Cairns international airports.
Earlier this week, Queensland Airports’ boss Chris Mills had pledged earlier to match any tourism commitment by the state after it was confirmed Australia’s borders would reopen to fully-vaccinated international tourists on February 21.
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“We know that more flights means more tourists,” Ms Palaszczuk said while announcing the deal on the Gold Coast on Friday.
“This is the largest investment of any Australian state or territory in securing inbound international flights after COVID-19.
“The agreement we’ve made this week will enable our airports to negotiate with airlines and fast-track more direct flights into Queensland.
“I want to see more planes landing at our major airports – filled with tourists who want to experience Queensland. That’s what this funding will help us achieve.”
It’s predicted the massive investment will help to deliver more than 5.3 million airline seats, more than 24,000 jobs a year and more than $4 billion for the Queensland economy.
It’s expected the money will initially target markets in Singapore, Japan, South Korea and the United States before moving into Canada, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Mr Mills said this was the investment the state’s tourism and aviation sectors had been crying out for.
“It’s been a very tough couple of years for tourism and aviation and that’s why this announcement is so important ,” he said.
“This is the largest fund in Australia and it really puts Queensland up there.”
Mr Mills said the deal would be vital for the Gold Coast in particular.
“Airlines around the world will be focused on opportunities with Queensland, with the Gold Coast,” he said.
“And as we know, for the Gold Coast, international tourism is such a key driver of the economy.
“Over a million international visitors a year used to come through the Gold Coast Airport.
“We’ve been expanding our terminal facilities during the COVID period so we’re looking forward to not only restoring the international network that existed previously but attracting new connections between the Gold Coast and the rest of the world.
“This is going to be the thing that changes and sets up the recovery of the Gold Coast and Queensland economy.”
Destination Gold Coast CEO Patrician O’Callaghan is confident the investment will put the state back on the global tourism map.
“For Queensland to be globally competitive, we needed an aviation war chest,” she said.
“The message today to all our global airlines is that, if you’re going to fly into Australia, there is only one place to land and that’s Queensland.
“We know here on the Gold Coast, having lost a million tourists and more than $1.3 billion dollars out of our economy nearly two years to the day now .. this is the critical lifeline that we need.”
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate also welcomed the news.
“More flights mean more tourists and a huge boost to our economy,’’ he said.
“The funds will enable airports to negotiate with international carriers in good faith.
“The Gold Coast is the jewel in the State’s tourism crown.”