BNE expects roaring start to The Year of The Dragon

With the busiest travel period on the Chinese calendar just weeks away, Brisbane Airport is getting ready to welcome, and farewell, thousands of people travelling for the Lunar New Year.

“China is now the third most important inbound market for Brisbane and Queensland and increasing numbers of Australians are choosing to visit China themselves,” Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) CEO and Managing Director Julieanne Alroe said today.

“Chinese New Year, which falls at the end of January this year, is traditionally a time for families to get together so we are expecting many Chinese people who live in Queensland to head home to China for the celebrations.

“But there are also many Chinese people who are taking the less traditional approach and using the ‘Golden Week’ holiday to travel outside of China.

“With four direct Beijing-Guangzhou-Brisbane services each week, as well as numerous indirect services, we are expecting the Brisbane International Terminal to be buzzing with Chinese New Year excitement.”

In anticipation of around 11,000 arrivals and departures before, during and after the Chinese New Year celebrations, Brisbane Airport has joined in the festivities by dressing up the International Terminal with special bi-lingual ‘Year of the Dragon’ decorations as well as appointing a dedicated Mandarin-speaking Liaison Officer to assist Chinese travellers.

“Brisbane Airport is often the first experience of Queensland for international visitors and we’re keen to make a great first impression by providing additional services to make their experience through Brisbane Airport more enjoyable,” Ms Alroe said.

Tourism Queensland Acting CEO Leanne Coddington said China was Australia’s fastest growing inbound tourism market in terms of visitor volume and expenditure with the potential to inject more than $732 million annually into the Queensland economy by 2016.

“Nearly 84,000 Chinese visited Brisbane alone in the year ending September 2011 representing 14 per cent growth on the previous year.

“All up 202,000 Chinese visited Queensland in the year to September 2011, and of those two-thirds came on holiday, 14 per cent for business, and 10 per cent to visit friends and relatives.

They collectively contributed around $409 million to the Queensland economy.

“Tourism Queensland has had an office in China for a number of years and aggressively markets Queensland as a key destination for Chinese holidaymakers.

“Chinese visitors love our natural attractions, our wildlife and culture – all of which are abundant within the Brisbane and south east Queensland region making it an easy holiday destination for them.

“Tourism Queensland, the State Government and Brisbane Airport Corporation were instrumental in negotiating for China Southern Airlines to begin direct flights into Brisbane in November 2010 and the ongoing strength of the market is proof that this commitment is paying off.”

Ms Coddington said Tourism Queensland was also currently developing a ‘Project China’ strategy aimed at ensuring the China market grew in a sustainable way that enabled the tourism industry to capitalise on the market whilst making sure it met the needs of increasing numbers of Chinese visitors.