Queensland tourism operators are bracing for a surge of American tourists following the launch of today’s new Qantas flights between San Francisco and Brisbane today.
The new service secured by the Palaszczuk Government last year will generate an extra 110,448 inbound seats and $67.1 million for the Queensland.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the new flights would create more than 700 local jobs.
“My government’s number one priority is to create jobs – that’s exactly why we fought so hard to secure these new flights for Queensland,” she said.
“Tourism operators throughout the state are facing a huge challenge due to the coronavirus. But today’s announcement should help put a smile on their faces.
“It’s more important than ever before to build on Queensland’s brand outside of China.
“These flights will give thousands more Americans the perfect excuse to come to Queensland for a holiday.”
Today’s launch comes after new international tourism data recently showed the US was one of Queensland’s top five tourism markets with a record 239,000 American tourists spending more than $420 million in Queensland in 2019.
Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said the new service would run three times a week, opening more direct access to American travellers and providing a boost to the local economy.
“One in 10 Queenslanders are employed in the tourism industry. We’re working hard to keep these jobs in Queensland,” she said.
“Flights are an important part of the mix when it comes to supporting tourism operators throughout the state.”
Ms Jones said the Palaszczuk Government had a strong working relationship with Australia’s national carrier.
“This Government has a great relationship with Qantas and that’s why they chose to house their new Dreamliners in our state capital, which made all of this possible,” she said.
“In a couple of months’ time we’ll also be welcoming the inaugural service of Qantas’ Chicago to Brisbane service, which will be a further boon for our tourism industry.
Ms Jones said to date, the Palaszczuk Government had secured 29 new services through the Attracting Aviation Investment Fund, bringing an extra 3.27 million seats to Queensland, worth $2.39 billion to the economy.
The Minister revealed the service would be supported by a major US marketing campaign which would reach 26 million people over the next year, as part of a new Memorandum of Understanding between Brisbane Marketing, Destination Gold Coast and Tourism and Events Queensland.
“The US is a key growth market for Queensland. A series of targeted campaigns we’ve launched int North America over the last three years have really paid off.
“Now it’s even more crucial that we grow Queensland’s following in the US.”
Minister for State Development Cameron Dick said that 385 direct jobs had already been created as a result of this project.
“This government will always back projects that create more jobs for Queenslanders. Having a Dreamliner base here in Queensland will create local jobs through tourism and deepening ties with major international business centres," he said.
“Both the San Francisco and Chicago routes connect Queensland with global hubs of commerce and industry – San Francisco is home to Silicon Valley and a hub for established high-technology giants as well as new start-ups and Chicago is a renowned global centre of business.
“I’m very pleased that the Palaszczuk Government’s Advance Queensland Industry Attraction Fund assisted in attracting this project to Queensland.”
Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said that the new Qantas service would provide a crucial link between Queensland and one of Australia’s most important tourism markets.
“This new direct service is a huge opportunity to boost US visitation into Queensland and get more tourists splashing their cash and supporting tourism related jobs across the state from the Gold Coast all the way up to Tropical North Queensland.
“More direct aviation access teamed with Tourism Australia’s ongoing marketing activity, off the back of the highly successful Dundee campaign, means Australia is well positioned to continue to capitalise on the growing number of Americans travelling internationally,” Minister Birmingham said.
Qantas International CEO Tino La Spina said forward bookings on both the new Brisbane routes are performing well.
“These new services will link Australian corporate and leisure travellers with two lynchpin capitals of commerce and culture in the United States. Customers will save around four hours travel time compared to the one-stop options currently on offer,” Mr La Spina said.
“From a US perspective, these direct routes put some of Australia’s most popular destinations like the Whitsundays just a one-stop flight away from a foggy San Francisco morning or a windy Chicago day, and that’s great news for Queensland and Australian tourism.
“It’s been a difficult start to the year for Australian tourism but new routes like this help to stimulate interest and bring more visitors. The message we’re sending to the US is that Australia is very much open for business and it’s easier than ever to get here.”
Gert-Jan de Graaff, BAC Chief Executive Officer, said today’s launch was another significant step in cementing Brisbane’s position as the best gateway to and from North America.
“The US visitor market is currently the fourth largest for Brisbane Airport in terms of passenger numbers, with around 185,000 US passengers travelling through the airport last year," he said.
“Relative to the size of the market and overall demand, Queensland has been under-served from the USA, so these direct Qantas flights will go some way to addressing pent-up demand.
“More importantly, the new services will help grow the important North American market which will have flow on benefits for every sector of our economy, from business and investment to tourism, trade and education across all of Queensland."
Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said the new direct service between Brisbane and San Francisco would further cement Brisbane as an unmissable stop on the itineraries of prospective US visitors.
“The number of American visitors to Brisbane is at a record high, and the Brisbane to San Francisco route will be a catalyst for even more opportunities for our city to tap into the lucrative US market," he said.
“It’s no secret that our friendly and welcoming vibe, relaxed outdoor lifestyle, stunning natural assets and thriving city centre are some of reasons the numbers of US tourists visiting Brisbane are at an all-time high.
“US tourism numbers have climbed 6.3 per cent to 106,000 over the year to September 2019, and this new service is a win-win for the US market and Brisbane’s local tourism industry.
“Increased connectivity will foster closer business ties with the US and link our local start-ups and businesses with major innovation, technology, investment and corporate opportunities in the US.”
The services are supported by the Queensland Government via Tourism and Events Queensland through the Attracting Aviation Investment Fund in partnership with Brisbane Airport Corporation, Tourism Australia and Brisbane City Council via Brisbane Marketing.
Premier and Minister for Trade
The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk
Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning
The Honourable Cameron Dick
Minister for Innovation and Tourism Industry Development and Minister for Cross River Rail
The Honourable Kate Jones