The Palaszczuk Government will partner with the private sector in a nation-leading deal announced today, investing $200 million to secure more direct international flights to Queensland.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the government would invest $100 million matched dollar-for-dollar by the state’s largest four airports to secure flights and rebuild Queensland’s $6 billion international tourism industry.
“We know that more flights means more tourists. That’s why international aviation connectivity is absolutely critical to the economic recovery of Queensland’s tourism industry,” the Premier said.
“This is the largest investment of any Australian state or territory in securing inbound international flights after COVID-19.
“The agreement we’ve made this week will enable our airports to negotiate with airlines and fast-track more direct flights into Queensland.
“I want to see more planes landing at our major airports – filled with tourists who want to experience Queensland. That’s what this funding will help us achieve.
“I thank Queensland’s international airports for their commitment. This is another great example of the government working with the private sector to rebuild Queensland’s economy and create jobs.”
The combined $200 million international aviation investment is predicted to deliver more than 5.3 million airline seats per year, generating almost $4 billion.
Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the partnership with Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Cairns international airports would supercharge the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to helping Queensland tourism operators rebuild better.
“Our airport partnership will target the international flights suspended by the pandemic, as well as new overseas connections,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
“Attracting international aviation is extremely competitive and that’s why we’re on the runway early to secure Queensland’s place on the destination boards of the world’s biggest airports.
“Queensland’s $200 million international aviation plan coincides with the pending launch of the successful ‘Good to Go’ campaign into Singapore and the UK.
“The domestic ‘Good to Go’ campaign generated $7 billion for Queensland tourism operators, who have been savaged by the loss of international visitors to the pandemic.
“Before Covid, international visitors spent two and half times more than interstate holidaymakers.
“Securing more international flights into Queensland airports also supports the State’s wider economy including food and freight exports and the return of up to 30,000 international students.
“The unprecedented size of our combined investment is set to deliver a significant return for Queenslanders by creating thousands of jobs and accelerating the Palaszczuk Government’s Economic Recovery Plan.
“We’ve listened to the airports and tourism operators and acted.”
Brisbane Airports Corporation CEO Gert-Jan de Graaff welcomed BAC’s partnership with the State Government.
“Today the Premier and the Minister have delivered for our industry, and the hundreds of thousands of Queenslanders – right across the state – who rely on a strong aviation sector,” Mr de Graaff said.
“The combined power of BAC’s investment and the Government’s matching funds will ensure Brisbane Airport can continue to be Australia’s best gateway for many of our major international markets and will deliver passengers across our regional network to all parts of the state.”
Queensland Airports Limited CEO Chris Mills said Gold Coast international services would restart on Monday.
“This is fantastic news. The government has listened to the tourism and aviation industries and recognised the importance of supporting the restart of international services,” he said.
“It will take time for international travel to rebuild, but this funding will be critical in attracting airlines back to Queensland.
“This funding package will bring forward airline commitments, deliver more international visitors, and provide a much-needed boost for the local economy.”
Destination Gold Coast CEO Patricia O’Callaghan said the announcement was a shot in the arm for tourism recovery.
“We know aviation attraction for new routes and services is the critical piece to recovery our industry has been calling for and this support will give Gold Coast’s tourism sector another reason to smile with an exceptionally bright future ahead,” Ms O’Callaghan said.
Mr Hinchliffe also announced the appointment of experienced aviation professional Manny Gill to the new role of Strategic Aviation Director in the Department of Tourism.
Mr Gill will oversee the rebuild of Queensland domestic and international aviation routes.
“This is a crucial role that ensures we’re in a better position than any other Australian state or territory to satisfy pent-up global demand for the world-class tourism experiences only Queensland can offer,” Mr Hinchliffe said. The Palaszczuk Government has invested more than $1 billion in support to help tourism and hospitality operators through the pandemic and $10 million in the last Budget to kickstart domestic aviation connectivity to Australia’s favourite Queensland holiday experiences.