The Palaszczuk government has attracted a major aviation coup for north Queensland, with new direct flights by Tigerair from Melbourne to Townsville set to boost the local economy.
Premier Palaszczuk said the new flights – the first domestic service to be supported by the Queensland Government’s Attracting Aviation Investment Fund (AAIF) – would inject millions of dollars into the economy.
“From June this year, this new Melbourne to Townsville service is estimated to inject an additional $12.5 million in overnight visitor expenditure and deliver 28,000 more seats into the region each year,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“Offering a morning service into Townsville three times per week gives interstate travellers more opportunity to visit this beautiful part of Queensland which has so many tourism and event experiences to offer.”
The Premier said the Fund had attracted more than 500,000 seats on international flights, but Tigerair boosted interstate flights into regional Queensland.
Minister Assisting the Premier on North Queensland and Member for Mundingburra Coralee O’Rourke said the new flights were a welcome arrival for the Townsville tourism industry, which is currently worth around $1.7 billion and supports more than 9000 jobs.
“Interstate visitors from key markets such as Melbourne are a key contributor to tourism growth and would support and generate local jobs,” she said.
“Domestic overnight visitor expenditure increased 3.4% to a record of $14.7 billion, which continues the highs seen every quarter since September 2015,” she said.
“The growth in Townsville was faster than the State average of 3.4% with visitors spending $845 million, an increase of 8.3%.”
Ms O’Rourke said the number of visitors to Townsville increased by 11.2% to 1.1 million over the same period.
Member for Townsville Scott Stewart said he welcomed the Government, through Tourism and Events Queensland, has been able to help secure these flights into Townsville through our $10 million AAIF program which the Government committed to at the election two years ago.
“In partnership with the Townsville City Council, Townsville Airport Corporation and Tigerair, a major win has been delivered for our region,” he said.
“Now even more holiday-makers will be able to enjoy Townsville’s unique tourism destinations and attractions including wreck diving on the reef and visits to Hinchinbrook or Magnetic island.”
Townsville Mayor Cr Jenny Hill said the announcement would give the city far greater reach in attracting interstate visitors.
“The new direct flights between Townsville and Melbourne are exactly the sort of services we need to generate new business and leisure opportunities in the city,” Cr Hill said.
“We look forward to working with Townsville Enterprise Ltd and Tigerair to market our city to Victorians all year round, and especially during the nine months of the year when we have unbeatable weather and action packed events.”
Townsville Airport Operating Officer Kevin Gill said: “The schedule is well timed for the leisure traveller and opens up more connectivity for direct business on this existing route.”
Tigerair Head of Communications Vanessa Regan said: “We are confident our new services will prove popular with our core market of low cost and leisure travellers, whilst at the same time delivering numerous spin off benefits for the region by way of increased tourism expenditure and job creation.”