The announcement this week that Air New Zealand will expand its direct seasonal Auckland and Sunshine Coast service is an extraordinary vote of confidence for the Sunshine Coast.
It’s also an important step towards attracting year-round services from Auckland and other ports in New Zealand.
The announcement, made on Wednesday, will see Air New Zealand increase their direct flights between Auckland and the Sunshine Coast in a deal that will bring an additional 3,000 visitors per year to the region and inject $11 million into the local economy.
The new flights will extend the existing seasonal service by two months to operate for six months of the year from April to October.
The timing of the announcement is perfect, as it follows on from the extremely positive visitor numbers released earlier this month by Tourism Research Australia for the Sunshine Coast. The latest International Visitor Survey (IVS) results for the region showed New Zealand remained our number one international market, with 78,000 travellers visiting the region in the year ending June 2019 – a growth of 19.5 per cent.
The expansion of air services across the Tasman will provide additional opportunities to grow these numbers.
Traditionally the Sunshine Coast has been a destination of choice for Kiwis looking to escape the winter chill for a warmer climate and take advantage of our beaches, events, activities, attractions and vibrant food scene.
We believe the expansion of air-services across the Tasman will provide additional opportunities to grow the meetings and incentives market, attract larger numbers for events and increase business travel as we develop as a knowledge-worker tourism destination.
In the year end June 2019, the Sunshine Coast led the state in international visitor growth and experienced a 27.5 per cent increase in international visitor expenditure.
The extended Air New Zealand service highlights our region’s international growth potential, and we thank the Minister for Tourism Kate Jones, and Tourism and Events Queensland for supporting this initiative.
Going forward, the expansion of Sunshine Coast Airport will provide outstanding opportunities to grow international and domestic visitor numbers on the Sunshine Coast across existing and new markets.
The sky really is the limit.