Asian tourism focus on growth markets


BRISBANE (Tourism Queensland) - The Beattie Government will restructure its Asian tourism operations to target lucrative growth markets in China and India and boost activities in Korea, Tourism Minister Margaret Keech announced today.

Mrs Keech said the move reflected changes in the Asia market and would give Queensland a greater presence in the markets.

"China is an exciting market and it is important to have an on-the-ground presence there if we want to be relevant as a destination," she said.

"We have seen unprecedented growth from the China market over the past two or three years, with visitors number to Queensland increasing at average annual rate of 20 per cent over past three years.

"The restructure of Tourism Queensland's operations includes the creation of a new position, Regional Director China, to be based in Shanghai.

"Hong Kong and Taiwan operations will continue to be serviced from in-market offices but will report to headquarters in Shanghai."

Mrs Keech said Tourism Queensland would appoint a representative agency in India in 2006.

"Queensland is already considered a highly desirable destination for Indian travellers and, just like China, we are expecting considerable growth in visitor numbers from this market," she said.

"The forecast growth for Indian visitation is 14 per cent each year on average between 2005 and 2014.

"Our agency move will cement Queensland's position as a primary destination for this key market.

"Together, these initiatives will see Queensland go from strength to strength in a period of extraordinary growth in key emerging markets."

Mrs Keech said Queensland was keen to increase activity in Korea and TQ would shift reporting lines to Brisbane to ensure a strong marketing and development program.

"Korean visitation to Queensland has grown by 10 per cent on average each year since 2002," she said.

"We have been working successfully with Qantas and Korean Airlines to boost capacity from that market.

"Qantas recently introduced direct seasonal services between Seoul and Brisbane for December through to February, adding more than 900 seats a week to the route.

"And Korean Air has successfully invested in seasonal charter flights to Tropical North Queensland twice in the past year.

"Korean Air also upgraded its aircraft on the Seoul to Brisbane route in November, boosting capacity by 115 seats per week.

"Investment of this nature is significant and the commitment from both airlines is a measure of the importance of Korea to our tourism industry."

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