Government to subsidise Cairns flights, accommodation to aid cyclone recovery

Aerial of Cairns and Trinity Inlet

The Queensland government has announced it will pledge $5m towards airfares and accommodation to Cairns following the devastating Tropical Cyclone Jasper.

More than $270m of visitor bookings were cancelled in far north Queensland during the usually popular Christmas season that the region’s tourism sector relies on, according to The Guardian. Despite the cancellations, QLD premier Steven Miles insists the tourist hotspot is “open for business”.

Qantas and Jetstar will offer fares that are up to 50 per cent off, with domestic Economy sale fares starting from $99 one-way. Jetstar fares are up to 45 per cent off, with sale fares starting from as low as $79 one-way.

Discounted accommodation will be available in the coming weeks.

The sale includes flights to and from most capital cities for travel from mid-January to the end of March 2024.

Miles said 90 per cent of businesses in the region were ready to take tourists just a few weeks after the cyclone.

“We know that a lot of people cancelled their holidays when they saw those pictures, but now is the time to re-book,” he said in Cairns on Friday.

Tourism Tropical North Queensland’s (TTNQ) CEO, Mark Olsen, praised the initiative, saying it will be essential to the region’s recovery.

“This initiative will give the region a real shot in the arm as we need visitors now more than ever having missed out on what is traditionally a peak time for visitors over the Christmas and New Year period,” he said.

“It is ideal to visit at this time of year as summer brings outstanding visibility to the Great Barrier Reef and our rainforest tours are showcasing waterfalls at their best.”

Tourism and Events Queensland CEO Patricia O’Callaghan added: “This is exactly what our operators need up north to get back on their feet and to make up for lost revenue over their peak holiday season.”

One in five jobs in the Cairns region are in the tourism sector.

(Featured Image: Aerial of Cairns and Trinity Inlet)

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