The Palaszczuk Government has today announced a deal with Air New Zealand that will increase flights to the Sunshine Coast, bring around 9000 extra tourists over three years and injecting more than $11 million into the local economy.
Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said the Palaszczuk Government had locked in the additional flights set to commence in April 2020, supported through the Attracting Aviation Investment Fund in partnership with Visit Sunshine Coast and Sunshine Coast Airport.
“More tourists means more jobs for the Sunshine Coast. That’s why we’re focused on growing this industry,” she said.
“These flights alone will bring an extra 3000 tourists to the Sunshine Coast every year and support an additional 90 tourism jobs. The flow-on benefits for local businesses will be awesome.”
On the Sunshine Coast, Air New Zealand will extend seasonal services by two months from mid-April to June to a total of six months flying across April–October.
Ms Jones said New Zealand is the Sunshine Coast’s largest international market in terms of visitor numbers, with 70,000 travellers visiting in the year ending March 2019 – a growth of close to six per cent.
“These flights will give kiwis the perfect excuse to escape the cold winter months and enjoy the Sunshine Coast’s unique tourism experiences,” she said.
“We’re partnering with the private sector and investing in new attractions to bring more tourists to the Sunny Coast.
“Combined with new flights and a boost for marketing in the region, we’ve got a clear strategy to grow this industry in the future.”
New Zealand is Queensland’s second-largest international market, with visitors from New Zealand generating $563 million a year for the state’s economy.
Sunshine Coast Airport Chief Executive Officer Andrew Brodie said the extended season built on the strong success of the existing Auckland service.
“With seamless connections, there is a fantastic opportunity to further grow key visitor markets beyond New Zealand, particularly the USA, which saw 29 per cent growth in the year ending June 2019,” Mr Brodie said.
“It also gives Sunshine Coast residents the opportunity to fly out of their local airport to Auckland and connect with other trans-Tasman destinations such as Queenstown and Dunedin.”
Air New Zealand Regional General Manager Australia Kathryn Robertson says the airline is delighted to extend its seasonal service to the Sunshine Coast from Auckland.
“The Sunshine Coast is a fantastic destination on our network so extending our season by two months by starting during the busy Easter break period is great news for travellers on both sides of the Tasman,” she said.
“The extended season reflects a 25 per cent increase in the number of seats operating on the route when compared to the previous season.”
Visit Sunshine Coast CEO Simon Latchford said that the Sunshine Coast was a ‘natural’ growth destination for the New Zealand market.
“We have built up a reputation as a premium tourism destination that offers considerably more than just beach holidays,” he said.
“With expansion of air-services across the Tasman we see great opportunities for growing the meetings and incentives market, attracting larger numbers for events, and also increasing business travel as we develop as a knowledge-worker tourism destination.”