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Tourism Expert Says Tasmania Must have Direct Flights to China
According to an international expert on Chinese tourism, TASMANIA needs to secure direct flights to and from China to ensure it does not miss out on the Asian tourism boom.
TASMANIA needs to secure direct flights to and from China to ensure it does not miss out on the Asian tourism boom, an international expert on Chinese tourism says.

Bob McKercher, of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s school of hotel and tourism management, has been in Tasmania talking to industry leaders about Chinese tourism.

He told the Mercury that establishing direct flights to and from China was critical if the state was to attract more tourists. “This needs to be done by Tasmania,” Professor McKercher said.

“Adelaide has put in three [flights] a week and it’s making Adelaide a legitimate destination from China.

“Typically, a Chinese tourist spends five to eight nights away, including overnight travelling, so if they are in Australia for five nights what are they going to do?

“They are going to do Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne and there’s your five nights.

“So if they come directly here, they can go from Sydney down to here, or Melbourne down to here or just do Tasmania, so it would be massive being able to negotiate direct flights.”

This week Hobart Airport boss Rod Parry will travel to China with Federal Tourism Minister Steven Ciobo to meet China’s main airlines.

They will meet China Southern Airlines, Air China and China Eastern Airlines.

It comes as work continues on the 500-metre Hobart Airport runway extension costing $40 million, set to be completed by next year.

It’s hoped the extension will open new possibilities for international flights.

Although China Eastern Airlines has previously signalled its intent to fly into Hobart, securing carriers for direct flights into Asia has been problematic for Tasmania.

Months of talks between Tourism Tasmania and Singapore Airlines only resulted in the carrier choosing Canberra over Hobart.

Chinese airlines and new players such as Air Asia X, Scoot and Dragonair have previously said they had no plans to fly to Tasmania.

However, the tourism industry expects interest to increase once the runway extension is completed, given the strong year on year growth in Chinese visitors.

Prof McKercher said if Tasmania could secure direct flights then Chinese celebrities could be flown to the state as part of a big tourism strategy.

He said the state also needed to consider an intense campaign targeting Chinese social media and to develop tailored smartphone apps.
  Source: The Mercury

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