Donghai Airlines Announces More Flights on First Year Milestone

Department of Tourism, Sport and Culture

Donghai Airlines hasannounced it will increase its Northern Territory flights from two per week tothree per week from mid-July through August, based on increased demand overthis peak period. The news comes as the airline celebrates one year ofservicing the Northern Territory.

The first-everdirect air service between Darwin and mainland China is achieving results,bringing more Chinese visitors to the Territory and delivering significantflow-on benefits to the economy.

Between 30 May 2018, when the service began, and the end ofFebruary this year, Donghai Airlines has carried 7005 passengers on the route, accordingto the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics,International Airline Activity.

Of these 7005 passengers, 3715 were inbound to Darwin and 3290were outbound. The vast majority of visitors on the service have been Chinesenationals, reinforcing how valuable the route is for boosting inbound tourism.

Using an average spend of $1916 per Chinese visitor (the latestfigures from the International Visitor Survey for the year ending December 2018)these flights have brought $7.1 million in new visitor expenditure into theTerritory – this is additional money that would not be coming into the Territoryeconomy if not for these flights.

Donghai Airlines has carried 70 tonnes of freight, of which 71per cent, or 49.4 tonnes, was outbound. This means for each imported tonne fromChina, more than two tonnes were exported from Darwin. This is money in thepockets of Territory exporters, their employees and suppliers.

Inbound passenger load figures between Shenzhen and Darwin were74 per cent in January 2019 and 65 per cent in February 2019.

Tourism Research Australia data for the year ending December2018 shows Chinese visitors increased by 55 per cent compared to 2017, bringingChinese visitors to 27,000 for the NT overall.

Once 12 months of flight data is available, it isanticipated the NT Governments 2020 target of 30,000 Chinese visitors will be exceeded,and China will have moved up the ranking from its current position as the NTsfifth largest international visitor source market.

The additional service is on a Friday (19 July, 26 July, 2August and 9 August 2019), in addition to flights on Wednesdays and Sundays.

As stated by Andrew Hopper, Departmentof Tourism, Sport and Culture Deputy CEO:

These figures and the announcement of an extra flight perweek from mid-July through August are great news for our tourism sector.

It will take time to build sustainable demand for directtravel between China and Darwin, but already we are seeing promising results.

To build on these results the NT Government, throughTourism NT, is continuing to invest in inbound tourism.

We will continue to work towards reaching our 2020 targetof 30,000 Chinese visitors per year, because more visitors means more moneyinjected into the local economy and more jobs for Territorians.

We also encourage Territorians to use the flights to accessnot only Shenzhen but also Hong Kong and other Asian destinations.

As stated by Ian Kew,CEO NT Airport:

The commencement of the Donghai services to Darwin hasresulted in real benefits to the NT economy. These services createongoing opportunities to support business and tourism growth, internationaleducation and open up new supply channels for air freight.

Chinese visitors arriving in Darwin on the Wednesdayservice from Shenzhen can now connect directly to Uluru on the new Qantasdirect service from Darwin, which will be a very attractive option to time-poorAsian and European travellers. It also allows holiday makers to visit both theRed Centre and the Top End for the ultimate Territory adventure.

During the Chinese New Year period this year, many localfamilies took the opportunity to visit China or to host relatives in Darwin forthe first time, resulting in full flights during what is traditionally a veryquiet period for both inbound and outbound travel.

NT Airports will continue to undertake in-market activityto build outbound travel. So far this has included an airfreight seminar,travel agent familiarisation and sponsorship of various charities, businessevents and radio competitions.

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