800,000 half-price flights take off today

TOURISM

Karlie Brady

Journalist

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Thousands of cheap flights have already been snapped up by eager travellers as the government-subsidised half-price airfares went on sale today.

The cheap flights dropped at midnight and are set to give a much-needed boost to the tourism industry.

The slashed tickets are a part of the Federal Government’s latest $1.2 billion tourism stimulus, which has halved the price of 800,000 plane tickets on the nation's three major carriers: Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin, to tourist destinations around Australia

Destinations including Cairns, Townsville, Whitsunday Coast/ Hamilton Island, Sunshine Coast, Darwin, Alice Springs, Hobart, Launceston, Devonport, Broome, Avalon, Merimbula, Adelaide, Kangaroo Island and the Gold Coast.

Fares are on sale through each airline’s website and travel agents and will be released in batches until the end of July, unless sold out earlier, for travel until the end of September.

The major carriers have also come to the party by added deals of their own.

Tourism Port Douglas and Daintree CEO Tara Bennett said it is a welcome initiative to stimulate bookings during the softer months before the traditionally busy tourist season kicks off.

“Traditionally May has been one of the hardest months to stimulate domestic visitation and this initiative is absolutely going to bring more people here at a time when we need it,” she said.

With the ticket release coming on the back of Brisbane’s snap lockdown, it is hoped the cheap airfares will boost the public’s confidence to travel interstate.

“We are aware that there is a large portion of travellers who don’t have the confidence to travel, however, the Port Douglas and Daintree market is seeing very strong forward bookings, so we are seeing a lot of travellers overcoming that issue,” Ms Bennett said.

“Based on current forward bookings 2021 is set to deliver some record months.

“That is a combination of bookings from last year that were moved to 2021 plus new bookings on top of that. It is looking to be a very big year.”

Qantas Domestic and International CEO Andrew David said the flight sales would help people plan for future holidays.

“While the Brisbane lockdown has unfortunately impacted some Easter holiday plans, we know this is a temporary setback and the vaccine rollout will help make border restrictions a thing of the past. With this sale, now is a great time to book your holidays and weekends away for the rest of the year,” he said.

“Almost every destination that Qantas and Jetstar flies to is on sale, including plenty of chances to grab half-price fares as part of the Government’s tourism stimulus package.

“Most fares are outside peak times, which is when these regions need more tourists to visit. They mean more people will stay in hotels, go to restaurants, and book tours and they also mean we can get more of our people back to work.”

The Government program drove interest in travel as soon as it was announced, with Qantas seeing a 75 per cent spike in visits to its website and a 40 per cent spike in bookings immediately after.

Qantas is offering unlimited flight changes through to at least February 2022, for flights booked until at least the end of April 2021.

Virgin Australia is also extending its flexible flying policy to enable customers who book travel under the program the ability to change their booking or cancel to travel credit without fees.

Discounted flight routes
*Subject to change.

Far North Queensland
Melbourne – Cairns
Sydney – Cairns
Darwin – Cairns

Gold Coast

Adelaide – Gold Coast
Melbourne – Gold Coast
Sydney – Gold Coast
Canberra – Gold Coast
Avalon – Gold Coast

Whitsundays and Mackay region

Sydney – Proserpine
Sydney – Hamilton Island
Sunshine Coast (Queensland)
Sydney – Maroochydore
Melbourne – Maroochydore
Adelaide – Maroochydore

Lasseter and Alice Springs

Adelaide – Alice Springs
Sydney – Uluru
Brisbane – Alice Springs
Melbourne – Alice Springs
Perth – Alice Springs
Sydney – Alice Springs
Brisbane – Uluru
Melbourne – Uluru

Launceston, Devonport and Burnie

Melbourne – Launceston
Sydney – Launceston
Brisbane – Launceston
Melbourne – Devonport
Melbourne – Burnie

Broome

Darwin – Broome
Sydney – Broome
Melbourne – Broome

Avalon (Victoria)

Gold Coast – Avalon
Sydney – Avalon
Merimbula (New South Wales)
Melbourne – Merimbula

Kangaroo Island (South Australia)

Adelaide – Kingscote.


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