Press Conference at World Routes Conference, Wayville SA

  • Transcript, E&OE
Topics: World Routes Conference 2019, Australia-India tourism opportunities.
22 September 2019

Steven Marshall: Good morning and welcome to the Royal Adelaide Showgrounds. What a fantastic morning it is. What a coup for South Australia having World Routes 2019 right here in the centre of our State, Adelaide. This is the largest Aviation and Routes Conference anywhere in the world. It's the first time it’s being held in Australia, in fact it's the first time it's been held in the southern hemisphere — all the major airlines, all the major airports, all the major route planners coming into South Australia. And the great news is that we get an opportunity to really showcase what we have in South Australia.

A great program. We are getting to sit down with South Australians who have been able to sit down with some of the most important airlines in the world and showcase what we've got here in South Australia. We had a great reception last night when many of the people who were present — over 2000 delegates that have come into South Australia — saw our State for the very first time and I can tell you what I've seen they’ve really, really enjoyed. I’m now going to pass over to my Federal colleague, Simon Birmingham, who's going to give us some more information and then we might come back with some more general questions — maybe about space, there was a big announcement overnight, pretty excited about that as well — but first of all Simon Birmingham.

Simon Birmingham: Well thank, thanks Premier. It's a thrill to be here today at the World Routes Congress happening right here in Adelaide. And this event is like speed dating for airlines and airports where they come together and schedule where planes are going to fly around the world in the years to come. And what an incredible opportunity it is for Adelaide, Australia to be at the front of their mind when they're making these decisions about where they're sending their planes to and booking flight services for the future.

This morning off given a very strong pitch, and in particular we want to see how airlines think about the Australia-India market and the enormous opportunities there because we're seeing double digit, we’re seeing continuous — I’ll pause for a second — we're seeing double digit growth in the Australia-India market and we want to see more direct flights between Australia and India to get the most out of that market.

But this isn't where it stops for Adelaide. This World Routes summit is going to be backed up next year with the Adventure Travel World Summit happening, again, here in Adelaide. An opportunity to highlight everything from sand boarding on KI to, of course, incredible adventure activities right across the State. It's just part of how it is we're investing to highlight the best of Australia, the best of South Australia to the world.

Thanks Brodie.

Journalist: Can you tell us more about your pitch about the Indian flights?

Simon Birmingham: Australia is seeing double digit growth year on year with visitors coming from India to Australia but most of them, 90 per cent are having to travel through other ports to get to Australia. That clearly shows that we are under serviced at present in terms of direct flights between India and Australia and there's huge opportunity which is why we are trying to really focus the attention of airlines in airports to think about the opportunity to secure greater direct access between Australia and India.

Journalist: Have you spoken directly, or to certain airlines and what's been their concerns about that?

Simon Birmingham: We’ll continue particularly to encourage the Indian and Australian carriers obviously to think about the possibilities here. I'm confident we will see an increase in the years to come. India sits for example in terms of Sydney Airport, five of the different Indian cities are in Sydney Airports most under serviced cities when they looked at where their visitors come from who've had to come through other ports to be able to get to Sydney. A similar story exists elsewhere and frankly the message I gave this morning is don't just think about Sydney or Melbourne. Why should flights from India fly over Adelaide, and Perth, and Darwin on their way to the East Coast when they could use these great cities as gateway points into Australia too?

Journalist: So the airlines just not keeping up with the increase?

Simon Birmingham: These are always commercial decisions and it's a highly competitive market to be able to get airlines to make decisions to invest in new routes. But we stand ready and willing, through Tourism Australia, to provide marketing support, and partnerships, and agreements to help with the facilitation of new routes into new cities and we really want to make that happen out of India in the years to come.

Journalist: And why the increase do you think from India? Why the sudden turn?

Simon Birmingham: The growth of Indian tourism is being driven in part by the growth of India’s economy, huge extra trade opportunities, as well as a much stronger international education market that’s seeing strong growth for Indian students and their families are coming to Australia too. And we project that to continue to grow in the years to come. And we could see enormous visitor numbers coming from India to Australia. That's why we're growing the market by investing, for example, in the T20 World Cup advertising campaign — $5 million dollars Federal funding for a targeted ad campaign and marketing project in India to get more Indian tourists to come here for cricket next year, but to leave a lasting legacy in the years to come which will only further heighten the demand for a direct flight capacity.

Journalist: [indistinct]

Simon Birmingham: Well Adelaide Airport is investing in expansion and it's wonderful to see the new international facilities that are going to be available at Adelaide Airport in a short period of time. The State Government's work in terms of growing new opportunities through the convention centre, the opportunities for business and industry [indistinct], the work around the defence sector, the growth in terms of international students in Adelaide is quite strong at present. But also that tourism potential is an enormous one. The Adelaide Oval, no better place in the world to watch cricket and we're going to host the T20 World Cup Year next year in Australia with matches in Adelaide that we hope would really attract the hearts of the Indian market as well as visitors from around the world.

Journalist: Are you confident of getting those extra airlines on board before then?

Simon Birmingham: Look, I don't think we can expect that it will happen within months but what we want to use is an event like this to really lay the foundations to ensure we get long term extra growth and capacity from markets like India.

Journalist: And is it just India? Or the US, or London?

Simon Birmingham: Adelaide Airport and the South Australian authorities are working as hard as they can along with all of the Tourism Australia [indistinct] to try to drive extra connectivity right around the globe. We certainly would love to see the US establish direct flights in to Adelaide but we know that's going to be a long haul to build a case to make sure they understand that with investment in space, investment in defence, Adelaide US flights should be on the horizon in the years to come — we just have to make them understand the commercial opportunity that really exist here.

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