Qantas’s non-stop daily service between London and Perth will have an “unprecedented” positive impact for Western Australia, the tourism board’s boss has said.
“It’s put Perth in a conversation we’ve never been in before,” Gwyn Dolphin, chief executive of Tourism Western Australia told TTG. “Our biggest challenge [in WA] is awareness. Sydney, the Gold Coast and Melbourne are front of mind for [international] visitors. [The new Qantas flight] is a substantial opportunity for us,” he said.
The UK remains WA’s biggest inbound visitor market, but Dolphin noted that it had “dipped... for a couple of years”. For the year ending December 2016, however, UK visitor numbers rose 3.6% to 150,900, though he added there was still room for improvement: “We think the figures can and should be bigger.”
The new route – which will start in March 2018 and stop in Melbourne after Perth – will bring up to 236 passengers into Perth each day.
But Dolphin is hopeful the service will result in more than just an upsurge in visitors. He spoke of the chance to act as a “hub” for Australia and the wider region.
A $14 million investment in the airport will allow a single terminal transfer for those transiting, Dolphin said.
In a further boost, Dolphin said that the state’s joint marketing budget with Qantas had “more than doubled”, to help generate more noise around the country’s first non-stop service to the UK.