09 September 2008

Cairns tourism to be rescued by Gov't

The Federal Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson announced last week the Government will fund a huge marketing boost to increase the number of flights between Japan and Cairns, reports Cairns.com.au.

The $750,000 funding is the first instalment which is aimed at reigniting interest from the traditionally strong tourists markets in the UK, Japan, Korea, New Zealand and China.  The Federal Government is promising $4 million in response to Qantas’ decision to cut flights between Japan and Cairns.

"Market indications reveal there is tourist demand for an additional 9000 seats out of Japan to Cairns on these services during a peak December-January period," said Mr Ferguson.

In related news, yesterday the General Manager of Alice Springs Airport also announced Japanese airlines are increasing charter flights to central Australia.  According to ABC News, Japan Airlines will be starting flights to central Australia, Darwin, and smaller Queensland cities. 

"We were monitoring the situation at Ayers Rock and the downturn there and in Cairns and perhaps thought the Japanese market had evaporated a bit," Don McDonald of the Alice Springs Airport said.

"But it's good that they've recognised openings to come back into Australia on some of those routes that Qantas have abandoned and to pick up the charter program that we ran in the last few years."

Tourism Australia is working hard to rebrand Australia so that the traditionally strong interest in Australia as an international tourist destination can be rekindled.  International tourists to Australia need an Australia travel visa, except for New Zealand passport holders.  Visitors wishing to travel the country can apply for a short-stay tourist visa, or ETA, which is valid for three months.  The conditions of the visa mean that tourists cannot work at any time during their stay in Australia.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people apply for an Australia visa.

Article by Jessica Bird, Australian Visa Bureau.

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