Tropical welcome as borders open and demand takes off

Tropical flowers, cassowaries and scuba divers will all form part of a special welcome at Cairns Airport today, as visitors from Melbourne and Sydney touch down in Cairns, marking a big day for border openings for the region.

Cairns Airport and Tropical Tourism North Queensland will roll out a uniquely tropical welcome as the Queensland border opens, with the return of Victorian travellers for the first time in nearly five months. Celebrations will also be in place for the long-awaited return of Sydneysiders, signalling the return of travellers from two of the Far North’s most populous visitor markets.

New Cairns Airport Chief Executive Officer Richard Barker said he was thrilled to have arrived in Cairns in time to see the return of visitors and flights from Sydney and Melbourne. 

“The return of these services today and the opening of borders is an important milestone for both our airport and our region’s recovery, and I’m delighted that we’re finally able to welcome visitors back to this special part of the world.”

“The return of travel domestically across Australia and the connectivity from these key markets is a great step forward in our return and recovery. Queensland has done an excellent job of keeping the state COVID free and visitors returning to the region are doing so with real confidence”, Mr Barker said.

Garry Porter Cairns Airport’s Head of Aviation said border openings were great steps forward in aviation recovery for the region and would meet the pent-up demand for a holiday in Queensland that exists in Victoria and NSW.

“Our aviation partners have responded quickly to the demand in the market and this week there’s an additional 10,000 seats for Cairns. We expect that to continue and capacity to increase in the coming weeks with airlines adding flights and seats as we approach the Christmas holidays.”

Tourism Tropical North Queensland Chief Executive Officer Mark Olsen said the first flight from Melbourne was a major step forward in the recovery of the region’s tourism industry. 

“Victoria accounts for 349,000 visitors annually to Tropical North Queensland, which is 15 per cent of the region’s domestic market,” he said.

“We are also looking forward to welcoming the first Sydney flight back to Cairns as that market traditionally delivers 194,000 visitors a year.

“TTNQ is reaching out to these important southern markets with holiday deals through the Summer Great campaign to show they can still have the tropical holiday they missed out on.”

“Summer is when the Great Barrier Reef is at its clearest, the waterfalls and rainforest are rejuvenated, and tropical fruit dominate menus – it is the summer holiday they have been longing for”, Mr Olsen said.

There will be an additional 31 flights into Cairns this week with Cairns Airport expecting to be at 60 per cent of pre-COVID domestic capacity in the coming weeks.