Huge potential for growth in South Korean market
The success of seasonal flights by South Korean airline Jin Air should pave the way for more flights - including a year-round service - sooner rather than later.
An impressive 97 percent of all seats on 16 flights to Cairns were sold during the seasonal trial between mid-December and early February, accounting for nearly 6000 Korean visitors and a $9 million economic boost.
Those 6000 passengers in the space of two months represented a huge leap in the number of Korean visitors to TNQ - just 10,800 Koreans visited our region in a 12-month period to September last year.
But there remains significant upside potential in the Korean market for Cairns.
Across Australia, the number of Korean visitors jumped a remarkable 29 percent to 255,000 people in the 12 months to September, with spending up an impressive 34 percent to $1.6 billion.
Tourism Tropical North Queensland (TTNQ) Chief Executive Officer Alex de Waal said the Great Barrier Reef remained a key drawcard for Korean visitors.
“Jin Air and nine Korean wholesalers sold package tours which included the Great Barrier Reef, Wet Tropics rainforest, Kuranda, Port Douglas, the Atherton Tablelands and Cassowary Coast,” he said.
“The Great Barrier Reef is a major drawcard for this market and the Korean charter travellers visited this World Heritage area with Reef Magic and Sunlover Cruises.
“They also experienced sky diving, hot air ballooning, white water rafting, Paronella Park, Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, and Rainforestation Nature Park.
Cairns Airport Chief Executive Officer Norris Carter said discussions with Jin Air about more seasonal flights and a year-round service would be aided by the success of the first seasonal service.
“We hope this successful seasonal service will be the start of a long and fruitful partnership that will support even further growth in Korean visitor numbers to Australia,” he said.
“Cairns is the northern gateway to Australia and has an excellent domestic network that will allow South Koreans to easily travel to other holiday destinations.
“South Korea is a rapidly growing market for Australia and continuing capacity growth will ensure its ongoing success.”