Northern Rivers Tourism has welcomed the opening of the new expanded terminal at the Gold Coast Airport.

“The Gold Coast Airport makes the Northern Rivers unique in NSW as the only NSW region with an international terminal on its doorstep. This is proving a real asset for the growth of tourism in the region, as well as a benefit to local residents for easy travel,” says the CEO of Northern Rivers Tourism, Russell Mills.

“Many people overseas and interstate don’t realise how close they are to the Northern Rivers via the Gold Coast Airport – in fact, most do not realise that the runway crosses both States, so sometimes they can take off or actually land in NSW!

“Over the past two years a bigger share of our international tourists have been arriving from the Gold Coast as more airlines see the opportunities offered through tourism in the region.”

The airport’s figures of a 55% increase in international visitors and 10% in domestic growth in the year to September ’09 shows clearly the growing popularity of the hub, much to the benefit of the Northern Rivers, Mr Mills said.

“We are confident that the upgraded facilities, coupled with the growth of low-cost carriers such as Air Asia X, Jetstar International and Tiger Airways, will bring even more visitors to our region in the years ahead,” said Mr Mills.

The Gold Coast Airport’s own website indicates high levels of interest in access to the Northern Rivers – both for transportation and for locations.

“Northern Rivers Tourism has built a strong working relationship with the Gold Coast Airport team and we have recently welcomed International Marketing Manager, Michael Curtis, onto our Board to strengthen our ties even further,” Mr Mills said.

In addition, the organisation is also working closely with airlines to jointly promote the Gold Coast destination as a step-off point to the Northern Rivers.

“For example, we are currently running a promotion with Air Asia X to attract more students to come and learn and play in the Northern Rivers,” said Mr Mills.

Anthony Albanese, Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, and Paul Lucas, Queensland Deputy Premier, today officially opened the $100 million terminal redevelopment at Gold Coast Airport.

Minister Albanese said that the new terminal was more than double the size of the previous terminal at over 30,000 square metres.

“Completed two months ahead of schedule, this major infrastructure project employed 1850 people during construction, delivering a significant boost to the economy,” he said.

“All up, Gold Coast Airport contributes more than $1 billion to the region’s economy every year and employs more than 1200 people on an ongoing basis.

“It is one of the fastest growing airports in Australia and is a vital gateway to some of Australia’s most popular tourist destinations in south-east Queensland and northern New South Wales.” 

Minister Lucas said that the Gold Coast airport was the sixth busiest in the nation – with the top five busiest all capital cities – and 35 per cent of all domestic tourists arrived by air compared with 29 per cent in Queensland.

PICTURE: Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese, Richmond MP Justine Elliot, and Managing Director of Gold Coast Airport Dennis Chant.