The Queensland government has signed an agreement with a Chinese airline set to bring another 36,500 travellers to the state annually from late next year, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.
Tourism Minister Kate Jones secured a memorandum of understanding with China Eastern Airlines, following Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s meeting with executives during her October trade mission.
Palaszczuk said the agreement will bring another three Shanghai-Brisbane direct flights from November next year, which she said would net the state $22 million in tourism dollars each year.
Successive Queensland government have made a real push for the Chinese tourism market, with the Newman government starting its casino integrated resorts procurement process as a lure for the lucrative Asian visitor market.
Labor continued that process, announcing Queen’s Wharf and giving the ASF Consortium time to develop its Gold Coast proposal.
Tourism Research Australia predicts that China will overtake New Zealand as the dominant tourism market for the nation in the next five years.
Queensland already counts Chinese visitors as its biggest international market, with $833 million spent in the past financial year in the state.
China Eastern also recently announced a seasonal service between Shanghai and Cairns.