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China Southern Airlines resumes direct flights to Queensland, boosting economic prospects

Queensland-China Southern Airlines

China Southern Airlines’ renewed direct flights from Guangzhou to Brisbane herald a promising phase of economic growth and tourism resurgence for Queensland. The strategic partnership is projected to inject millions into the local economy and create thousands of job opportunities, strengthening the region’s resilience and global appeal.

Brisbane, Australia — Queensland’s tourism and economy receive a significant boost as China Southern Airlines announces the reestablishment of direct flights between Guangzhou and Brisbane, commencing from mid-November. The first phase will entail four weekly flights, gradually expanding to daily services. This development is projected to inject nearly $441 million into the visitor economy over a span of three years and generate around 1,790 employment opportunities in Queensland.

The collaborative partnership between the Palaszczuk Government and the state’s four international airports, with an aviation funding of $200 million, has successfully secured the return of direct flights from China to Queensland. Starting from November 17, 2023, China Southern Airlines will operate four non-stop flights weekly from Guangzhou to Brisbane, with plans to ramp up to daily flights within a two-year timeframe.

The initial year of operation will introduce 59,000 inbound seats to Brisbane International Airport through China Southern Airlines. Over the following three years, the airline is anticipated to provide nearly 278,000 inbound international seats, driving a boost of approximately $441 million to the visitor economy and supporting nearly 1,790 jobs in Queensland.

Before the pandemic hit in 2019, China ranked as Queensland’s primary source of international visitors, contributing over $1.61 billion in overnight visitor spending from around 497,000 Chinese travelers. Notably, China also plays a pivotal role as a significant source of international students for Queensland’s key services export sector, with 21,680 enrollments in 2022.

The recent decision by the Chinese Government to lift the pandemic suspension on its Approved Destination Status scheme is a positive step towards resuming outbound group travel to Australia. China Southern’s return marks the 25th direct international service supported by the $200 million Attracting Aviation Investment Fund (AAIF). Collectively, these services are poised to provide over 1.91 million direct inbound international seats, contributing up to $1.49 billion to the visitor economy and generating 18,566 employment opportunities in Queensland.

Stirling Hinchliffe, Tourism Minister, remarked, “Securing China Southern from Guangzhou is a game-changer and a critical stride in revitalizing Queensland’s international visitor economy post-pandemic. Queensland’s allure as Australia’s preferred holiday destination is poised to reignite, and we anticipate Chinese travelers to rediscover our captivating visitor experiences.”

Jason Sun, China Southern Regional General Manager Australia and NZ, emphasized the airline’s commitment to resuming operations in Queensland, stating, “China Southern Airlines aims to further expand the ‘Canton Route’ and, in turn, contribute to the influx of tourists from China as well as business and leisure travelers from other parts of the globe to Queensland.”

Gert-Jan de Graaff, CEO of Brisbane Airport, welcomed the resumption of the direct flight service, highlighting its significance in reconnecting Queensland with the lucrative Chinese tourism market.

As Queensland gears up for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, China Southern’s return underscores the commitment to fostering economic growth, international engagement, and a vibrant tourism industry.

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