In November, Tourism Australia has signed a deal worth close to A$9 million over the next three years with major China international carrier, China Eastern Airlines.
Under the agreement the two parties will each contribute A$4.3 million towards joint marketing initiatives. The deal will also see China Eastern providing flights to support travel industry famils, trade shows and media trips to promote inbound travel to Australia.
The agreement follows China Eastern’s recent launch of its latest Australian direct service – Shanghai to Cairns, which commenced in October 2012.
“This agreement and status of China Eastern will give Australian tourism even greater strategic reach in this our most valuable tourism export market. China Eastern with its large, combined China domestic and international route network is incredibly well linked to better connect travellers between greater China and Australia,” said Tourism Australia’s Managing Director, Andrew McEvoy.
China Eastern is one of China’s ‘big three’ air transport companies with a global network serving 993 destinations, including a global route network covering Chinese domestic and international destinations connecting Asia, Europe, the Americas and the Asia Pacific.
China Eastern Airlines entered the Australian market in 1996 and today operates 18 flights per week to Australia with daily services to Melbourne, nine flights a week to Sydney, and a new, recently commenced two-per-week direct service to Cairns.
In October, China overtook the United Kingdom as Australia’s second largest inbound market by volume, and remained the most economically valuable, worth close to A$4 billion annually.
“With over 600,000 Chinese visitors visiting our country each year, large aviation partnerships with China’s leading airlines, such as China Eastern, remain critical for Australia to tap into the country’s enormous tourism potential, expand people to people relations and achieve long term success for our industry,” Mr McEvoy said. ■