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    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    JOINT STATEMENT
    Deputy Premier, Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning
    The Honourable Jeff Seeney
    Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games
    The Honourable Jann Stuckey

    Cairns welcomes first China Eastern flight from Shanghai

    JOINT STATEMENT

    Deputy Premier, Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning
    The Honourable Jeff Seeney

    Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games
    The Honourable Jann Stuckey

    Wednesday, October 31, 2012

    Cairns welcomes first China Eastern flight from Shanghai

    Cairns has welcomed the first China Eastern Airlines passengers flying direct from Shanghai on a new route which could potentially inject millions annually into the local economy.

    Deputy Premier and State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Minister Jeff Seeney and Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games Minister Jann Stuckey greeted the inaugural flight at Cairns Airport today.

    Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney said it was fantastic to see the airline flying into Cairns for the first time and that the flights would provide a great boost for the region’s economy.

    “The new flights will bring thousands of Chinese holidaymakers to visit Queensland annually, injecting millions of additional dollars into the economy,” he said.

    “Given the importance of the market, these flights have been highly anticipated by the local industry and have been well received by the Chinese who have demonstrated there is real demand for the new route.”

    Minister Stuckey said the China Eastern Airlines deal was the first announced under the Newman Government’s $8 million Attracting Aviation Investment Fund.

    “I signed the letter of intent with China Eastern Airlines to run the new Shanghai to Cairns direct route while I was on a trade mission to China in July, and it’s wonderful to be here today to welcome the first flight arrive,” Ms Stuckey said.

    “Shanghai is a key route for Cairns as China is Tropical North Queensland’s largest international market with 94,000 Chinese visiting the region last financial year.

    “During this period Chinese visitors stayed 226,000 nights in the region, providing a huge boost to the local economy.

    “China Eastern Airlines, Tourism Queensland, Cairns Airport and Tourism Tropical North Queensland have promoted the new route and encouraged the Chinese to choose Queensland when booking their next holiday.”

    Ms Stuckey said tourism was one of the four pillars of the Queensland economy and the new China Eastern route would help the Government reach its goal of achieving $30 billion in annual overnight visitor expenditure by 2020.

    China Eastern Airlines Vice Chairman and CEO Mr Ma Xulun said China Eastern considered Cairns an important tourism destination in northern Australia.

    “The Cairns region has convenient transport, well-built tourism facilities, is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, home to one of the oldest tropical rainforests and silvery sand beaches, is surrounded by islands, and is attracting numerous Chinese tourists,” Mr Ma said.

    “The direct flights from Shanghai to Cairns will make travelling to Queensland more convenient for our passengers and give them a positive tourism experience both in the air on our new service and once they land in Cairns given the variety of tourism experiences on offer.”

    Dr. Sun Dali, Chinese Consul General in Queensland was also on hand to welcome the first flight.

    Tourism Tropical North Queensland CEO Rob Giason said the arrival of the first China Eastern Shanghai to Cairns direct flight was a win for the Tropical North Queensland tourism industry.

    “These flights will bring an influx of Chinese visitors into the region, which will take us towards Tourism Tropical North Queensland’s goal of potentially 200,000 Chinese visitors by 2015,” Mr Giason said.

    [ENDS] 31 October 2012

    Media contacts:

    Minister Stuckey’s Office – 3225 1005                                     Minister Seeney’s Office – 3224 4600

    Tourism Queensland – 3535 5840