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Labor promises more direct international flights from Hobart to New Zealand and Asia

Pulse Tasmania
Labor promises more international flights from Hobart to New Zealand and Asia. Image / Stock

Direct international flights from Hobart to destinations across New Zealand and Asia will become a reality under a Labor government, the party say.

Leader Rebecca White says only a Labor government will invest an extra $15 million over three years to secure more international connections as part of a wider $97.8 million tourism, hospitality and events package.

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“As an island state, Labor understands the importance of maintaining and enhancing Tasmania’s access through our ports, both sea and air, to welcome visitors here and increase the value of our visitor economy,” White said.

“Our plan includes additional funding for Tourism Tasmania for destination marketing, supporting more women into leadership roles and we have also committed to not introducing the visitor tax promised by Jeremy Rockliff’s Liberals.”

Tasmanian Labor Leader Rebecca White

Hobart International Airport has only seen limited international flights since its opening in the 1970s, with a direct route between Hobart and Christchurch in New Zealand’s South Island launched in 1980 and a short-lived, once-weekly Qantas service to Auckland in 1985.

Currently, the airport is served by just one international route operated by Air New Zealand from Auckland, which will be suspended for a period of around six months from April.

An Air New Zealand aircraft on the ground at Hobart Airport. Image / Pulse

Speaking to Pulse in early February, the airline’s general manager of short haul Jeremy O’Brien confirmed they hope to reinstate the connection by the end of October.

According to data from Tourism Tasmania, in the year ending September 2023, out of the 1,262,214 visitors to Tasmania, 165,238 came from overseas.

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“Prior to Covid-19, Tasmania was experiencing strong growth from international markets, particularly from China, United States of America, Hong Kong, United Kingdom and New Zealand,” a tourism overview reads.

Labor made the commitment on the same day Hobart Airport announced a $200 million terminal upgrade was underway.

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