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    New international flights to Cairns mooted by politician

    Direct flights from a mystery destination to Cairns may be on the cards.

    The Member for Leichhardt has flagged direct flights from a new Chinese destination to Cairns are likely to be announced soon.

    Warren Entsch said Tourism Tropical North Queensland is in the final stages of negotiations to bring new flights to the region.

    Mr Entsch praised tourism groups and Cairns Airport for establishing strong partnerships with China in Parliament on Monday.

    “I thank TTNQ, tourism partners and Cairns Airport for continuing to push the envelope and focus on sustainable tourism growth, particularly in the growing Chinese market,” Mr Entsch said.

    “It aligns with the commitment by Prime Minister Turnbull and the Chinese President to jointly designate 2017 as the Australia-China year of tourism.

    “The tourism industry is growing three times faster under the coalition government than it did under the previous Labor government.

    “New measures—such as a 10-year multiple entry visa for China, a trial of visa applications online in simplified Chinese, and a tripling of gateway capacity between Australia and China—are positioning us well to attract Chinese holiday makers.” 

    The news would cap off a banner year for the region’s tourism industry.

    Cairns Airport recently celebrated a milestone with a record five million passengers travelling through in a 12-month period.

    Korean low-cost carrier Jin Air will start its inaugural seasonal service direct from Seoul in December.

    The trial flights are expected to bring up to 5000 travellers to tropical north Queensland during the Chinese New Year period.

    “It is certainly an exciting time for the tourism industry,” Mr Entsch said.