12 June 2008

Chinese airlines flying to the rescue of QLD tourism

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Queensland Tourism Minister Desley Boyle will head to Asia later this month in an attempt to secure a deal with airline companies. Ms Boyle will be backed by emergency money from the Government, and will be looking to financially entice major carriers to start long-haul flights to Queensland earlier than previously expected.

The State Minister has been granted AUD$4 million from the State Government and another $4 million from the Federal Government.  The money is charged to protect the Queensland tourism industry from rising fuel prices, the strong Australian dollar, and major cuts in Qantas flights.  "These funds will provide a boost for domestic and international marketing campaigns, but will also put money into Desley’s back pocket to bring interested airlines to Queensland sooner," said Queensland Premier Anna Bligh in their joint press release. 

The Queensland Government has been working on their relationship with Chinese airlines for some time now, and has always been explicit about their intentions to secure the rapidly growing Chinese tourist market by introducing direct flights from China to Queensland.

"The Premier has given me the green light to work with Tourism Queensland and the state's regional tourism organisations to identify and attract airlines important to the future of Queensland's tourism industry," commented the Minister.  "We will be ensuring that when the proposed domestic and international flight cuts happen there will be viable alternatives waiting to take their place," she said.

Federal Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson said his government is looking at a number of solutions to revamp Australian tourism, such as allowing international tourists to extend their visas if they are willing to work in the right kinds of jobs and industries.  The Government has been struck with a labour shortage and lack of skilled migrants in Australia, and has been actively campaigning for more immigrants to Australia.  The Government is also in the process of passing a bill which will allow 5,000 guest workers from nominated Pacific Islands fill the labour shortage. 

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