20 January 2016
Direct international flights to and from Canberra will increase visitor numbers and further establish the region as a key tourism, export and business centre, according to the Canberra Business Chamber.
“Today’s announcement that from September Singapore Airlines will begin international flights linking Canberra with Singapore and New Zealand is very welcome news,” Canberra Business Chamber CEO Robyn Hendry said.
Canberra Business Chamber believes this will boost the ACT’s visitor economy, drawing more leisure tourism, business travelers and conferences to the region.
“Having direct international flights to Canberra will enable the region to leverage off its reputation as an innovation and knowledge hub and attract more international conferences,” Ms Hendry said.
“It will also pull people to the city from the region – they will come here to start or end their overseas journey. This will have potential benefits for local retailers as they are likely to shop, eat or stay here before they leave or on their return.
“These flights provide an alternative for travelers, particularly business travelers, who currently fly through Sydney to and from Singapore, but would prefer the overnight flights offered via Canberra.”
International flights should help draw more international students to the ACT’s excellent education institutions and make it more likely their friends and families will travel to the nation’s capital to visit them.
“Tourism is a major industry for Australia and today’s announcement will be integral to the ACT region increasing its market share. For example, visitor numbers from China are forecast to grow over 15% year on year. With direct flights from Singapore, the ACT could be a much more popular destination for visitors from China.”
Canberra Business Chamber commends Canberra Airport and the ACT Government on securing the Territory’s first international airline partner.
“With international flights now available, we must continue to work hard promoting the national capital and all it has to offer as a holiday and business destination,” Ms Hendry said. “The ACT Government and Tourism Australia must invest in selling Canberra and the region as a great place to visit to ensure these international flights are sustainable and more are offered in the future.
“The Federal Government has a role to play and needs to encourage public sector staff travelling from Canberra to New Zealand or Singapore and beyond to utilise these flights.”
In terms of export and business outcomes, the new flights will create new opportunities for local companies.
“ACT businesses are very successful exporters of services, particularly knowledge and people services,” Ms Hendry explained. “Having direct flights will make essential travel more efficient and less time consuming and costly. It will make our businesses more competitive and help them win new customers.
“It should also create opportunities for local producers of high quality, but perishable goods who will now be able to transport their products to overseas customers more quickly.”
“An increase in freight movements through Canberra Airport and visitor numbers will create local jobs.”
Singapore is currently Australia’s sixth largest export market and Australian exports to Singapore grew nearly 50% in 2014, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Singapore Trade and Economic Fact Sheet.
“Having an international airport will support Canberra’s status as the national capital and as a truly international city,” Ms Hendry said.
Media Contact: Robyn Hendry, CEO Canberra Business Chamber 0418 462 151