Impact of Chinese flights

Pete has an interesting post at Conus on Chinese visitation with some additional data from the IVS: Details from the IVS show Chinese visitors to TNQ in sharp decline

Some of this relates to the comment in my previous post on a comparison with year to March quarter 2017. This period was a controversial failure around the Chinese New Year and charter flights with much finger pointing of blame. Pete’s numbers still show a decline for the year to this March despite that.

I thought it may be worthwhile to have a look at the direct flight data between Cairns and China. It’s almost impossible to keep up with the constant international route changes but BITRE do provide historical data for scheduled public flights (ex charter) on international routes in a thoughtfully compact 27MB excel file.

Year to March             Passengers
2013                          22,339
2014                          20,390
2015                          17,813
2016                          17,134
2017                            4,976
2018                          23,735

Direct scheduled flights from China have been stop-start and highly seasonal since they started in 2012. I hope I have sorted the BITRE data correctly which indicates there were no scheduled direct China – Cairns flights between May 2016 and December 2017? The sporadic history of direct flights must be a tourism marketers nightmare.

The 2018 scheduled flight data here is only for the 4 month period since direct flights recommenced in December. The direct flight numbers are only a small fraction of Chinese visitation and the significant majority of international visitors to Cairns arrive on domestic routes.

It could though go some way to explaining the anecdotal reports, such as Reef Casino, of a stronger Chinese New Year period in 2018 and how that fits with the IVS data. Something to watch.

Note: This is ex well established Hong Kong route where passenger numbers are much larger and grew by a third in 2016 but have been flat since.

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