CANBERRA, AAP – Bringing in high-spending Japanese tourists to north Queensland once international flights are restored could deliver a boost to the economy, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says.
Visiting Cairns on Monday, Mr Frydenberg said he would talk to Qantas boss Alan Joyce about the major carrier bringing Qantas-branded flights from Japan to the north Queensland tourist hotspot on a regular basis.
Only Qantas’ low-cost subsidiary Jetstar flies the Japan to Cairns route.
More than a decade ago, Cairns received more than 200,000 Japanese visitors a year.
“I think it is really important to recapture that Japanese tourist market – it’s a lucrative market for Cairns,” Mr Frydenberg told 4CA radio on Monday.
“Jetstar is obviously a different product. Qantas is more of a premium product and that is important for the Japanese tourist sector.”
Decisions were a commercial matter for the airline, he said.
“But I think it will be important for the Cairns region if you can have that high quality, high spending Japanese tourist market coming back to this area.”
He said he understood Mr Joyce would be visiting the region soon.
The treasurer noted international borders remained closed and the process to reopen them would not be rushed.
However, he said the rollout of vaccines would “make a real difference”.