13 Dec 2017
Minister for Tourism and Culture
Minister for Tourism and Culture Lauren Moss said she was quietly optimistic about direct flights from China into Darwin starting in the first half of 2018.
Speaking from China where she is meeting with airlines and attending the closing program of the China-Australia Year of Tourism, Ms Moss said Shenzhen-based Donghai Airlines had made a public commitment overnight (on Chinese social media platform WeChat) to non-stop direct service flights.
‘We are in China working to secure direct flights to Darwin because we know the economic boost it will provide our business community,” Ms Moss said.
“The overnight comments are a very exciting sign of Donghai’s commitment to direct Shenzhen-Darwin flights on the back of ongoing positive discussions between the NT Government, Donghai and NT Airports.
‘We have seen a significant increase in Chinese travellers coming to the Territory for holidays and business. These new flights would provide a direct link, with a travel time of only five and a half hours from Shenzhen to Darwin.
‘The Chinese tourist market is growing rapidly and we know that travellers from China spend more on average than other visitors - so it is an important and lucrative market.
‘We are already attracting 18,000 Chinese visitors annually and direct flights will allow us to meet, and well and truly exceed, our target of 30,000 visitors from China by 2020.
‘With a population of nearly 14 million, Shenzhen is a major business centre in China and is often referred to as their Silicon Valley. As well as bringing in holiday visitors, direct flights will also open up new trade opportunities for the Territory.”
Ms Moss said discussions with Donghai Airlines were ongoing and she was hopeful of an agreement in the near future, subject to regulatory approvals.
Media contact: Trish Grimshaw 0401 119 242