As Cathay Pacific departs, tourism body to support Silk Air

AVIATION STRATEGY

Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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The region’s tourism body, Tourism Port Douglas Daintree (TPDD), has said now that Cathay Pacific has terminated its scheduled service between Hong Kong and Cairns – it came into effect on 27 October – it will focus on supporting the daily Silk Air flights with connections through to Europe, the UK and Asia, which has a similar reach to the Cathay Pacific route.

And TPDD’s Chief Executive Officer, Tara Bennett, highlighted the fact that Jana Stankovich, from Cairns Airport, sits on the TPDD Board of Directors and “we are ensured of a strong working relationship for both parties and an alignment of activities.”

When Cathay Pacific made the announcement in May this year to cancel its flights into Cairns, TPDD said it “is devastating”.

“I’m concerned for both the tourism and agriculture/aquaculture sectors, who rely heavily on the flight access.

“This is such an important link for visitors from the Douglas Shire’s key long haul western markets, particularly the UK,” said Ms Bennett.

Douglas Shire Mayor Julia Leu said Cathay’s announcement is deeply concerning and all efforts to reverse their decision must be an absolute priority.

“We desperately need more direct flights into Cairns, not less. She said it is critical that there is a proactive and co-ordinated campaign to fight this immediately.

“The loss of this long haul international route, impacts on our domestic and freight capacity for fresh seafood and agricultural produce is massive,” she said at the time.

Ms Bennett said today that TPDD’s aviation strategy will continue to focus on stimulating demand for the destination to support Cairns Airport and the Queensland Government in their strategy to increase supply.

“When it comes to aviation, tourism bodies and the airport have the same end goal of more capacity into Cairns where tourism organisations such ourselves and Tourism Tropical North Queensland focus on stimulating demand while the airport focuses on supply.

“An example of this is the recent announcement from Air New Zealand to increase frequencies into Cairns next year with improved flight times for connections from not only New Zealand but North America,” said Ms Bennett.

She said TPDD is strengthening the efforts of Cairns Airport with a strategy to target New Zealand travellers as well as our on-going work in North America. 


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