Todd McClay Speech: Inaugural flight of Jetstar Dreamliner
Hon Todd McClay
Associate Minister of Tourism
26 February 2014
Address to celebration of inaugural flight of Jetstar Dreamliner
Thank you, David, for your welcome. I am delighted to join you today to mark the inaugural trans-Tasman flight of Jetstar’s flagship 787 Dreamliner.
As the Associate Minister of Tourism, I am heartened by the confidence that Jetstar is demonstrating in the New Zealand market, by choosing to invest in the Dreamliner and fly it to New Zealand.
Jetstar’s innovative approach
Since its launch a decade ago Jetstar has been recognised as a tourism innovator, due to its commitment to providing low cost fares that help more people to fly to more places, more often.
I applaud Jetstar’s commitment to enhancing competition on trans-Tasman and long-haul Asian routes, and to providing consumers with greater choice.
Trans-Tasman travellers are benefitting from Jetstar’s drive to operate services on routes where there was previously little or no choice of carrier. These include Jetstar’s new direct Auckland to Adelaide service which, since December last year, has benefitted both the South Australian and Auckland visitor sectors.
In 2013, Jetstar further expanded its trans-Tasman services with two new weekly services from Australia to Queenstown.
As Jetstar’s investment in the Dreamliner shows, it is not only committed to delivering competitive fares, but also to giving its passengers quality experiences.
Jetstar also deserves recognition for its work to enhance the reliability and timeliness of its services. In 2013, it announced it had recorded its best ever on-time performance for flights in New Zealand.
It’s not surprising that last month Jetstar was also voted the best Low Cost Carrier in Asia Pacific by AirlineRatings.com. I congratulate all concerned with this achievement.
The value of trans-Tasman tourism to New Zealand
Tourism operators such as Jetstar are critical to New Zealand, given the significant contribution that tourism makes to our economy.
In the year to March 2013, international visitors spent $NZ9.8 billion in New Zealand – accounting for over 16 per cent of our total export earnings.
Tourism also provides fulltime employment for over 110,000 New Zealanders.
The Global Financial Crisis and its fallout have impacted on visitor numbers from some of our traditional markets. But through this time, the Australian visitor market has retained its position as our number one source of visitors and continued to grow.
Last year, over 1.2 million Australians visited New Zealand, up 5.4 per cent on 2012, and they spent more than $NZ2.2 billion while they were here.
Investment by tourism operators in the trans-Tasman market, such as Jetstar, has driven this vital growth in the Australian market.
We are also seeing excellent growth in travel between Asia and New Zealand. Last year Asian visitors to New Zealand increased by 10 per cent to more than 560,000. With more than 4000 weekly flights across Asia, Jetstar plays an important role in supporting this growth, by connecting Asian travellers with the New Zealand market.
It is therefore significant that the Dreamliner we welcome today will eventually fly into New Zealand from Singapore, offering an improved product that connects with Jetstar’s Asian network.
Government’s contribution to tourism
The government also has a role to play in encouraging innovative tourism operators, such as Jetstar.
Last year, the government made $8 million available per annum for the Tourism Growth Partnership. Under this Partnership, the government will co-invest with industry in new initiatives to boost productivity and innovation in the tourism sector.
The government has also allocated significant new funding to Tourism New Zealand. This includes $24.5 million over four years to generate higher value from key visitor markets. In Australia, this funding is being used to promote promising special interest markets, such as business events, luxury, youth, cruise and cycling markets.
I wish Jetstar all the best with the new Dreamliner and look forward to the airline’s continued growth and on-going participation in New Zealand’s tourism market.