Today I chaired the inaugural meeting of the ACT Government's Aviation Taskforce.
The Taskforce has been established to provide a coordinated and cooperative approach to attracting direct international flights to and from Canberra.
Taskforce members include representatives from the capital region's tourism industry peak bodies as well as representatives from the business, education and community sectors.
After today's meeting, the Taskforce will now start gathering information and preparing a submission to put to airlines. The submission will contain an assessment of the volume and reach of demand, the volume of Canberra and New Zealand businesses with regular links and/or requirements to do business in the respective markets, and historical bookings and forward commitments for Government agencies and business and association conferences and conventions.
The $420 million investment made by the Canberra International Airport Group to redevelop the terminal, combined with supporting infrastructure investment from the ACT Government, has created a new and exciting opportunity for the region.
With the Canberra International Airport on track to be ready for international flights by March 2013, we are now entering an important moment for leveraging the business, tourism and community benefits that will flow from direct international services.
New Zealand is the most likely market for initial international direct services. This follows my recent trip to New Zealand, where I met airport, airline and tourism representatives. More than 1.1 million New Zealanders visit Australia each year, making them this country's biggest source of overseas visitors.
While the majority of overnight visitors to Canberra are currently domestic, the expansion of the Canberra International Airport offers significant growth potential in the key international markets of New Zealand and South-East Asia.
With Canberra's Centenary fast approaching, and international direct services in the pipeline for 2013, next year is shaping as a fantastic opportunity for even more Australian and international visitors to come to the national capital.
- Statement ends -
Section: Andrew Barr, MLA | Media Releases