Darwin is set to truly take off as a major gateway to Australia, with Qantas adding a Darwin/Uluru/Adelaide service twice a week from today.
Uluru remains one of the major Australian drawcards for international tourists; Top End tourism will be positioned to capitalise on this popularity with visitors now able to spend time in Darwin on their way to the Rock.
It will also mean more visitors dispersing throughout Central Australia, so its great news for the whole region including Alice Springs.
The new service will also help build demand for international air services into Darwin, supporting existing carriers such as Jetstar Asia, SilkAir and Donghai Airlines, as well as making Darwin more attractive as a gateway for potential new international carriers.
The NT Government’s investment in Turbocharging Tourism has allowed Tourism NT to strengthen relationships with airlines and enhance the focus on building sustainable air services to the Territory.
The new Qantas Darwin/Uluru/Adelaide service comes on the back of a new direct service from China by Donghai Airlines, increased Jetstar Asia services between Singapore and Darwin, additional SilkAir services between Singapore and Darwin, and a new Virgin Australia service between Darwin and Denpasar, Bali.
Quotes from Minister for Tourism, Sport and Culture, Lauren Moss:
“Direct flights between Darwin and Uluru will be an absolute game changer for Top End tourism, positioning Darwin as a major gateway to Australia. It will mean more international visitors stopping in Darwin on their way to the Rock, providing an economic boost to tourism operators, accommodation providers and retail businesses.
“We know that more visitors to Uluru also means more visitors throughout Central Australia; more than half of all international holiday visitors to Uluru also spend at least one night in Alice Springs.
“The new service will also allow us to build exciting itineraries that keep travellers in the Territory for longer, rather than just flying in and out of Uluru from Sydney or Melbourne.
“New air services is a good sign that our Turbocharging Tourism investment is starting to pay off. It has allowed us to develop stronger partnerships with airlines, growing demand for services.
“We are starting to see that reflected back in holiday visitor figures which are showing signs of recovery after they fell off, particularly during the Inpex construction phase.
“We are particularly seeing strong visitor growth from both China and Japan, so it’s great to see Qantas responding to this visitor enthusiasm, providing new convenient travel options.”
Quotes from Qantas Domestic CEO Andrew David:
“We are seeing strong demand for some flights to the Northern Territory and we are adding more flights or bigger aircraft where we see demand or new tourism opportunities.
“Uluru is in more demand from international and interstate tourism than we have seen in a long time.
“As the national carriers, we are proud to work with the Northern Territory Government to promote the Territory to travellers from around the world and in our own backyard, which is so vital to the local economy.”
Quotes from General Manager Crocosaurus Cove, Penny Eckel:
“As a business we are excited about the opportunities the new Qantas service between Darwin and Uluru will present.
“We believe it will open up the potential to increase our international visitation, as it has so successfully done in Central Australia.”
Quote from CEO Tourism Central Australia, Stephen Schwer:
“Uluru is proving very popular with Chinese travellers and we anticipate that connecting Uluru with Darwin direct will bring more Chinese visitors into the heart of Australia.
“Around 50% of people who visit Uluru visit other parts of the Northern Territory, so encouraging dispersal of visitors remains important for the tourism industry across the Red Centre.”
Media contact: Trish Grimshaw 0401 119 242