Chinese tourism expected to boost Far North economy

The forecast doubling of numbers may sound overly optimistic, but let’s hope there is some truth to expectations of a boom in Chinese tourism in the Far North, as reported this morning in the Cairns Post:

THE number of Chinese travelling to the Far North is expected to double to nearly 190,000 a year within 12 months of three new services coming on stream from next month.

That’s the prediction of Cairns Airport chief executive officer Kevin Brown after Cathay Pacific Airlines yesterday announced changes to its arrival and departure times from Hong Kong to link to its flights from mainland China.

It comes as Chinese visitor numbers to the Far North continue to soar with the latest figures showing a 27 per cent jump on 2011 figures to 94,000 in the year ended June 30.

The tourism sector appears very hopeful there will be a China-led tourism revival. The Tourism Minister’s press release yesterday was very optimistic (Chinese tourists ‘cheque-in’ to Queensland). The Minister noted:

“While many of Queensland’s traditional markets out of Europe and the UK continue to feel the effects of the global financial crisis, Chinese tourists are developing a love affair with Queensland and are now our second largest international market.”

A record breaking 238,000 Chinese tourists visited in the year to June 30 – a jump of more than 21 per cent.

The Far North economy certainly needs the boost that Chinese tourism would bring. Rick Carr of Herron Todd White Cairns has observed that the likely boost in tourism is already bolstering confidence through the whole economy (Cairns Watch August 2012):

…the game changer during the last month has been the China Eastern and China Southern announcements of direct flights into China, which combined with reports of a much busier tourist season this year, have inspired extra confidence in the future of Cairns economy.

Hat tip to KS at Loose Change for alerting me to Rick Carr’s report.

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