More flights into Cairns? Local tour operators say bring it on, Premier!
Dear Premier Palaszczuk: please don't tell the world that Cairns doesn't "want any more flights"!
That's sums up the sentiment of local tour operators in response to baffling comments made by the Queensland Premier in a speech at a business breakfast in Brisbane this morning.
'DON'T SEND' FLIGHTS TO CAIRNS
"It's quite ironic that when I travel up to Cairns I have people saying to me, through our Aviation Attraction Fund, 'don't send us any more flights at the moment, we actually need more product, we need more hotels built'," Ms Palaszczuk told the American Chamber of Commerce this morning.
"We actually need more product because the story about tourism in this state is going to continue to increase, and what everyone is saying both in the United States market and also the Chinese market is that we actually need higher end product.
"There is a growing demand for people to have luxury experiences but it is something that Queensland is lacking at the moment."
TropicNow is currently seeking follow-up comment from the Premier.
Tourism consultant Ron Livingston said the Premier’s comments were “patently nonsense”.
“I’ve never heard any tourism operators up here suggesting anything of the sort,” Mr Livingston said.
“We’re in the middle of very good times up here.
“We’ve had three major hotel developments approved, we’ve got an aquarium opening soon, we’ve got accommodation providers refurbishing like there’s no tomorrow, we’ve got people operating hand-over-fist.
“Is she just trying to pursue her own agenda of pushing flights to Southeast Queensland rather than here?”
'CAN'T IMAGINE IT'
Queensland Tourism Industry Council chief executive Daniel Gschwind seemed equally perplexed by the Premier’s comments, telling the Brisbane Times that TNQ operators were ready for more visitors.
“I can't imagine them turning any flights away," he said.
"We can never let go of our efforts to engage with airlines around the world to bring them to our destinations, it's not something you can just turn on and off.”
Ms Palaszczuk’s comments come as a state government-led delegation kicks off a trade mission to China today.
One of the aims of the trip is to sure-up direct flights between Cairns and China, with Tourism Minister Kate Jones and representatives of Tourism and Events Queensland meeting with influential Chinese officials.
TropicNow is also seeking comment from Labor candidate for Cairns Michael Healy, an experienced tourism industry stalwart.