Air New Zealand Extends Flight Services to Australia’s Sunshine Coast, City Braces for Tourism Boom

By @ibtimesau on

Air New Zealand has announced it will be extending its flight services to Australia's Sunshine Coast for a third consecutive year, effective 2014.

Between June 27 and October 26 in 2014, Air New Zealand will make two return flights a week. During designated peak periods of the 2014 season, these will become three flights weekly.

Over the next three years, Air New Zealand will grow its seasonal service to provide over 18,000 seats into the Sunshine Coast, Jann Stuckey, Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games, said.

Tourists from Japan look at Christmas decorations on a stall at the opening day of Germany's oldest Christkindlesmarkt (Christ Child Market) in Nuremberg November 29, 2013. The first official record of this pre-Christmas market dates back to 1628. A list of notices for stall holders from 1737 shows that almost all of Nuremberg's craftsmen were represented. Every year, Germany's traditional markets, such as the centuries-old Christkindlesmarkt in medieval Nuremberg, draw millions of visitors, both local and foreign. They open before the first Sunday of Advent and usually continue until December 24 at noon. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle

"Sunshine Coast has been a real success story. Since the inaugural service in 2012 we've grown capacity each year to the point where we will offer 75 per cent more seats in 2014 than we did when the service launched," Cam Wallace, Air New Zealand's Group General Manager New Zealand and Pacific Islands, said.

"Kiwis have embraced the opportunity to escape to the Sunshine Coast's golden beaches over the winter months while Sunshine Coast travelers have welcomed the chance to reach New Zealand direct from their local Sunshine Coast Airport."

Mr Stuckey said the new and additional flight services is expected to bring an estimated $132 million into the region.

"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," he said.

"New Zealand is the Sunshine Coast's largest international market representing around a quarter of all international visitors to the region or 52,000 travelers in the year to September 2013."

With the expected influx of tourists, Mark Jamieson, Sunshine Coast Mayor, said the city's facilities should improve, from the airport to the hotel accommodations, to support the foreseen boom in tourism activity.

"I think there's work to be done in key areas like international standard hotels and there are opportunities for that here on the Sunshine Coast," he was quoted by ABC News.

"I don't think there's any doubt we probably need to continue to develop our attractions. We have a great array of attractions but we've got to keep adding to our repertoire."

"It's a pretty big growth market there, particularly in areas like Asia - China, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, heavily populated countries in close proximity to Australia who I think will really enjoy all of the great natural assets and man-made attractions that we've got to offer."

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