Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb said tourism will be the big winner from a partnership between Jetstar and Chinese company Dalian Wanda Group to commence direct flights between the Gold Coast and Wuhan, China.

As the minister responsible for tourism, Mr Robb said the two weekly services – which are scheduled to begin operating from 29 September 2015 – present exciting opportunities to grow the tourist and hospitality economy of the Gold Coast and surrounding areas.

“The number of Chinese setting-off on an international holiday is expected to reach 200 million by 2020 and South East Queensland is perfectly placed to capture its share of this growth,” Mr Robb said.

“China is our most valuable tourism market; last year Chinese travellers spent close to $5 billion in Australia so the addition of these flights, together with the current pilot program underway for online visa applications by Chinese visitors, means Australia is certainly primed to harness this booming market.”

The decision to add new flights follows a landmark air services agreement struck with China in January 2015 that will see capacity triple over the next 18 months.

“That arrangement includes separate access entitlements for services between Australian gateway airports and cities in China other than Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.  This particular partnership is an example of the opportunities that exist between second-tier cities in Australia and China,” Mr Robb said.

Mr Robb said Jetstar’s partnership with the Dalian Wanda Group, along with the company’s recent investment in Gold Coast tourism infrastructure, is a testament to the attractiveness of Australia as an investment destination.

“The Dalian Wanda Group made its first investment in Australia in 2014 with a stake in The Jewel, a $900 million beachfront resort on the Gold Coast,” Mr Robb said.

“That particular announcement came following the company’s participation in an investment roundtable I held during Australia Week in China last year, which shows that the proactive approach this government is taking to promote Australia as a business and tourism destination, is paying dividends,” Mr Robb said.

“As the first Minister for Investment I have now participated in more than 60 productive senior investment roundtables in 23 countries, most recently with businesspeople and investors in the US, Canada and Hong Kong, who are all eager to explore investment opportunities in Australia.

“Attracting offshore capital is a top priority for this government and Jetstar’s announcement certainly demonstrates the far-reaching benefits foreign direct investment can have on the economy – creating jobs and stimulating growth for years to come,” he said.

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