New international air routes into Queensland from Asia combined with strong marketing are helping to buoy its Queensland’s foreign visitor numbers.
“Budget airline AirAsia X and Middle Eastern carrier Etihad and Emirates expansion into Europe from Dubai contributed to big jumps in visitors from Malaysia, Singapore and Europe,” said Desley Boyle, Queensland tourism minister said.
The latest International Visitor Survey results for the year ended September 2008 showed that new routes and added capacity had contributed to strong growth from some regions.
“The past 12 months have been tough on our tourism industry and it is no surprise Queensland, along with the rest of Australia, suffered an overall decline in international visitor numbers.
“But the good news is those who came stayed longer, spent more, and some markets, particularly those where more air capacity has been introduced, have grown significantly,” she added.
More than two million international visitors spent 39.5 million nights and $3.9 billion in Queensland in the year to September 30, 2008. While this was an overall four percent decrease in visitor numbers, nights were up nine percent and expenditure up five percent.
“Visitors stayed an average 19 nights in the state, two nights longer than during the same period last year, and spent an average A$1,868 (US$1,299) each, A$161 (US$112) more,” she said.
Boyle said the efforts by the State Government and Tourism Queensland in encouraging international airlines to invest in new capacity into Queensland were also paying off.
The number of visitors from Malaysia for example increased 43 percent to 40,000 in the year to September 2008, while Singaporean visitors increased 21 percent to 47,000.
“AirAsia X’s direct flights from Kuala Lumpur into the Gold Coast have had a significant effect on the growth of the Malaysian market. While the increased capacity into Brisbane from Middle Eastern airline Etihad have contributed to the increased number of Singaporeans and the strong European network of both Etihad and Emirates have contributed to Europeans travelling to the state,” Boyle said, adding “the fact that visitors don’t have to transit through interstate airports means they can easily travel to a number of Queensland destinations and spend more time and more money in our state.”
On a less positive note, Japanese visitor numbers continued to decline, falling 18 percent to 296,000.
“Tourism Queensland’s Japan-based team are working with airlines, Japanese travel industry, consumers and local travel media to maintain a strong market presence for Queensland,” she said.
For more information on Tourism Queensland, visit www.tq.com.au.