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11 March, 2021

Up to 7000 cheap fares a week into Cairns

THE Federal Government announced yesterday a raft of measures designed to bolster the Far North’s economy post-JobKeeper.

By Peter McCullagh

Up to 7000 cheap fares a week into Cairns

The measures are specifically tailored to assist the north’s tourism and hospitality industries.

The key points expected to be announced today include:

● From April 1 – July 31, nearly 800,000 half price flight tickets to 13 regions throughout Australia including Cairns.

● Business loans up to $5m over 10 years with a 24-month repayment holiday – eligible to businesses that have graduated off JobKeeper between January 4 and March 28.

● Financial assistance to aviation workers, (ground handlers) to cover costs related to mandatory training, certification and accreditation.

● International freight assistance, ensuring flights to export Australian goods to overseas markets.

● One-off grants to assist travel agents and tour arrangement service providers stay viable.

The $1.2bn package is expected to be announced this morning however media overnight are reporting on details.

Cairns will benefit greatly from this announcement. With the approach of the norths peak domestic season, the additional flight seats will lift local tourism and hospitality operators and provide greater security for workers.

TTNQ CEO Mark Olsen welcomed the news. “The Federal Government has been listening and today is a step in the right direction.”

“The destination (Tropical North Queensland) has more than 1250 different products and experiences all world-class and COVID safe.

“We anticipate 5000 – 7000 extra visitors each week, to head out on to the reef, into the rainforest and up onto the Tablelands to spend those savings not only on food and drink but also on the experiences we are so well known for around the world,” he said.

The Prime Minister Scott Morrison was reported over night as saying, “This is our ticket to recovery — half-price airfares to get Australians travelling and supporting tourism operators, businesses, travel agents and airlines who continue to do it tough through COVID-19 while our international borders remain closed.”

“That means more jobs and investment for the tourism and aviation sectors as Australia heads towards winning our fight against COVID-19 and the restrictions that have hurt so many businesses.

“Our tourism businesses don’t want to rely on government support forever.”

Advance Cairns CEO has welcomed the announcement regarding the assistance to continue with aviation freight exports from Cairns.

Currently we have four freight flights weekly to Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan. The measured announce will allow this to continue with two to three freight flights a week.”

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