The Sunshine Coast tourism industry is flying high following the announcement that Air New Zealand will extend its seasonal flights from Auckland for another three years.
Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games Jann Stuckey welcomed the announcement which will see Air New Zealand increase both the length and frequency of its Sunshine Coast season.
“Over the next three years, Air New Zealand will grow its seasonal service to provide over 18,000 seats into the Sunshine Coast,” Ms Stuckey said.
“These new services will bring an estimated $132 million into the region.
“New Zealand is the Sunshine Coast’s largest international market representing around a quarter of all international visitors to the region or 52,000 travellers in the year to September 2013.
“After years of Labor neglect, tourism is now going from strength to strength and is recognised by the Newman Government as one of the four pillars of the economy.”
Ms Stuckey said the Government had established an $8 million Attracting Aviation Investment Fund to encourage more airlines such as Air New Zealand to fly to Queensland.
“To support the Auckland-Sunshine Coast flights, Tourism and Events Queensland will continue to work with Air New Zealand and Sunshine Coast tourism industry partners to market the seasonal services,” she said.
Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Cr Mark Jamieson said the new season announcements showed strong confidence in the value of the Auckland-Sunshine Coast route.
“I am very pleased to see Air New Zealand continuing to increase its investment in this substantial market for international tourism here,” Cr Jamieson said.
“The total direct expenditure in the region by visitors for the 2013 season was estimated to be $9 million, with the overall economic impact $22 million. The direct spend is anticipated to grow to $54 million over the next three years.
Sunshine Coast Destination Ltd CEO Simon Ambrose said the return of the direct service for a further three years was a real boost of confidence for the region and tourism industry as awareness of the route grew.