Backpackers buoyed by new Perth flights
Gap year travellers down under will soon enjoy more flight options between Australia and South East Asia following new plans announced by China Southern Airlines.
The world's fifth largest airline already flies to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane from its Guangzhou base, and from November it will begin direct flights to Perth. The announcement of the planned flights will be good news for backpackers in the region, allowing international travel from Western Australia to Guangzhou, which is southern China's biggest city and only 100km from Hong Kong.
The new service will start with three flights per week using China Southern’s A330-300 aircraft. The flight will originate from Beijing with a short transit stop in Guangzhou, before flying non-stop to Perth.
As well as being beneficial for backpackers, the new flights from China to Perth should prove to be a boost for tourism in Western Australia. Currently the region attracts some 15,000 Chinese visitors a year, though it is now forecast that by 2020 Western Australia will host around 100,000 Chinese visitors annually, making it WA’s second largest international visitor market behind the UK.
Local authorities are certainly hopeful of the new flights increasing tourism interest. In May the Western Australia State Government committed $5.2 million over four years in the State Budget for market and aviation development in China.