More visitors from China are expected to visit New South Wales to enjoy a summer of events, with Chinese carrier Hainan Airlines to begin flights to Sydney next month.
Hainan Airlines will introduce flights between China and Australia, with non-stop services from Xi’an to Sydney on December 24. Xi’an is located in the northwest of China with a regional population of 8.5 million, and is home to the world-famous Terracotta Warriors.
Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres said the arrival of Hainan Airlines in Sydney is a huge coup for New South Wales.
“I’m delighted we can confirm another international airline will be flying to Sydney bringing even more visitors to our great state,” Mr Ayres said.
“China is NSW’s largest inbound tourism market with 526,000 Chinese visitors last financial year – an increase of 24 per cent on the previous year. These visitors spent almost $2 billion in NSW and we look forward to welcoming even more international visitors to our great city and the NSW regions over the summer.”
NSW is still the number one destination for international visitors in Australia, with a record 3.3 million international visitors. Mr Ayres said Sydney is the first city in Australia to secure new routes between China and Australia since the expansion of the bilateral arrangements.
Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer Sandra Chipchase said: “We are delighted to be welcoming Hainan Airlines, and this builds on other strong aviation relationships NSW has in this key inbound tourism market.
“Over the coming months, visitors are in for an impressive calendar of sporting, arts, cultural and lifestyle events and entertainment, including Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour: Turandot, Matilda the Musical, and the NSW Art Gallery’s The Greats.”
Sydney Airport Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Kerrie Mather said: “We’re excited to be welcoming Hainan Airlines to Sydney in December, which will bring more Chinese tourists to Sydney and provide Sydneysiders with a direct flight to the home of the Terracotta Warriors.
“Hainan Airlines will be Sydney Airport’s sixth Chinese mainland airline serving destinations across mainland China, making Sydney Airport the world’s leading airport for long haul Chinese airlines.”
The flights will run until the peak northern winter season in late March 2016, subject to government approval. It will be operated by an A330-200 aircraft with 222 seats.