February 21, 2022

Launceston Airport welcomes return of international tourists to Australia

Launceston Airport is excited to welcome fully vaccinated international tourists back to Northern Tasmania, an important market that will support the ongoing recovery of tourism in the state throughout 2022.

Launceston Airport is excited to welcome fully vaccinated international tourists back to Northern Tasmania, an important market that will support the ongoing recovery of tourism in the state throughout 2022.

Launceston Airport CEO Shane O’Hare said that just under 300,000 international visitors travelled to Tasmania in 2019 and spent $555 million – a significant economic injection for the state.

“While we know that international tourists won’t immediately return in the same numbers as they did prior to the pandemic, they are an important market for Tasmania and they will help support the rebuilding of Tasmania’s aviation and tourism sectors.

“We can’t wait to once again welcome the first international tourists through Launceston Airport, the gateway to Northern Tasmania’s food and wine regions, outdoors activities and heritage towns,” he said.

Mr O’Hare said that domestic tourism has been the backbone of the business over the past two years. Commenting on the second half of 2021 for Launceston Airport, he said that more than 278,000 domestic passengers were welcomed through the airport’s doors, a 53% increase on the same period in 2020.

January has been the busiest month of the 2021/2022 financial year so far, as Australians took advantage of the lifting of state border restrictions, including Tasmania reopening to Victoria and New South Wales on 15 December last year. Just under 80,000 passengers travelled on flights in and out of Launceston throughout the month.

“2021 was another tough year for everyone, including the aviation industry, but the second half of the year saw some fantastic new routes announced, with direct flights from Perth, Adelaide and the Gold Coast introduced, along with an increase in the number of flights between Launceston and Brisbane.

“While we had expected a bumper summer, the appearance of the Omicron variant dampened expected growth, with people understandably nervous to plan and book travel.

“Airlines reduced capacity due to decreased travel demand and COVID-related staffing issues. That included the temporary suspension of the new Launceston to Perth, Adelaide and the Gold Coast routes. We expect the direct flights to Perth will start again when borders to Western Australia reopen. Direct services to Adelaide and Gold Coast are planned to restart in March and April respectively.

“With these services flying again, more bookings are expected, especially in the lead up to Easter, which is typically one of our busiest travel periods of the year. There’s certainly a lot of pent-up travel demand, and we think this, along with more confidence to travel, will help us to see some normalisation come Easter.”