I rise this evening to congratulate Tourism Tropical North Queensland, which is in the final negotiations on a deal for direct flights to a new Chinese destination-and this is fabulous news for us.
I thank TTNQ, tourism partners and Cairns Airport for continuing to push the envelope and focus on sustainable tourism growth, particularly in the growing Chinese market.
It aligns with the commitment by Prime Minister Turnbull and the Chinese President to jointly designate 2017 as the Australia-China year of tourism.
The tourism industry is growing three times faster under the coalition government than it did under the previous Labor government.
New measures-such as a 10-year multiple entry visa for China, a trial of visa applications online in simplified Chinese, and a tripling of gateway capacity between Australia and China-are positioning us well to attract Chinese holiday makers.
Cairns Airport is going from strength to strength, recently celebrating five million passengers in a 12-month period and helping Australia break the national record of welcoming eight million international tourists over the last 12 months.
Building on the success of Silk Air's direct flights to Singapore, on 6 December Philippine Airlines will celebrate the first anniversary of its Manila to Cairns return flights. On the 15th, Cairns will welcome Jin Air's inaugural seasonal service direct from Seoul.
It is certainly an exciting time for the tourism industry.