Direct flights will bring growth in tourism

18 April 2013

Canterbury's ability to tap into the booming Western Australia market will be significantly boosted by the introduction of direct flights between Christchurch and Perth, says the region's tourism boss.

Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism chief executive Tim Hunter is thrilled by this evening's announcement that Air New Zealand in partnership with Virgin Australia will introduce a twice weekly direct service between Perth and Christchurch in December.

Initially the direct flights, operated by Air New Zealand, will be offered for a 21-week period but if they prove popular they could become a permanent year-round feature.

Mr Hunter is excited about the growth opportunities the direct flights will bring.

"This represents a hugely significant opportunity for new growth in both business and leisure visitor numbers from the booming Western Australia market," he says.

"Western Australia's gross state product per capita is the highest in Australia and it has the nation's highest rate of short-term overseas holidaymakers. We already know New Zealand's South Island is an enticing destination for Western Australians and we are confident direct flight access will stimulate a significant new wave of holiday demand."

Mr Hunter says CCT will be working closely with Air New Zealand, Christchurch Airport and Tourism New Zealand on promoting Canterbury and South Island holiday packages to the Western Australian market.

"With an easy flight time of only 6 and a half hours, Christchurch will open up a whole world of vacation possibilities for West Australian visitors and we can't wait to start promoting our region to them."