Chinese visitors will now have even more opportunity to visit Western Australia, with a new trial of direct flights between Shanghai and Perth with China Eastern Airlines over the peak Chinese New Year season.
Starting on January 15, 2020, the trial is a result of a partnership between the State Government, through Tourism WA, Perth Airport and Tourism Australia.
China Eastern will operate three flights each week over five weeks on Airbus A330s, until Monday February 17 offering 3,480 seats from Shanghai to Perth.
Premier Mark McGowan led a delegation to China in 2017 to begin negotiations with China Eastern about securing a flight trial. Subsequently, both the Premier and Tourism Minister Paul Papalia have travelled to Shanghai to continue discussions and secure the deal.
An extra $1 million was allocated by Tourism WA this year for collaborative and tactical campaigns to build awareness of Western Australia in Shanghai.
China Eastern is the seventh biggest airline in the world and has never flown direct to Perth.
According to the International Visitor Survey, the number of Chinese visitors coming to WA grew by 12.4 per cent to 64,400 in the year ending March 2019.
In addition to bringing more Chinese visitors to the State, the flights also provide a direct freight route for fresh Western Australian produce and it’s expected the underbelly of the plane will be filled with 15,000kg of rock lobster per flight to be sold in mainland China.
Tourism WA will work with Tourism Australia and China Eastern to market the non-stop flights to Shanghai, and drive ticket sales in China. Marketing will include collaborative travel partnerships and media partnerships throughout the second half of 2019.
As stated by Premier Mark McGowan:
“Securing this trial has been no easy feat. We led a comprehensive delegation in 2017 and followed up with numerous meetings because we wanted to show China Eastern we were taking this seriously and we were on a mission to secure these direct flights.
“Running the trial over one of the peak travel periods for Chinese people is a great opportunity to boost the WA tourism and hospitality industry.
“Having never flown directly to Perth, these China Eastern direct flights will make it that much easier for Chinese visitors to access the great tourism experiences we have to offer in Western Australia.
“More direct aviation access from China and other key markets makes it easier for people to have a holiday in Western Australia and in doing so it benefits WA jobs and our local economy.”
As stated by Tourism Minister Paul Papalia:
“Chinese tourists enjoy everything that WA has to offer – nature and wildlife, great wine, local cuisine and produce, as well as world-class coastlines.
“The top three experiences booked by Chinese tourists include seafood cruises, wildlife encounters with quokkas on Rottnest Island and Hutt Lagoon (Pink Lake).
“This service now makes it so much easier to travel between Shanghai and Perth and is a great addition to the current flight schedule from China to WA helping us maximise our visitation from this important market over the high travel period, the golden weeks over Chinese New Year.
“Having the flights coincide with the start of the Chinese New Year in Western Australia will be particularly attractive for the friends and relative market.”