Last year, following months of
uncertainty, Jetstar committed to continuing its operations from
Avalon Airport after reaching an agreement with the Victorian
Government and Linfox Group to secure the long-term future of air
services to our region. Under the 10 year partnership,
Jetstar undertook to increase services from five to seven per day
and offer two new destinations from Avalon.
One of those destinations was
the Gold Coast and, having never stayed there before, I recently
decided to visit for a two-night break. Firstly, it should be
noted that I personally paid for all flights and accommodation and
this opinion piece is therefore not a subsidised review. It
is written to highlight the vital role both Jetstar and Avalon
Airport play in driving tourism and prosperity in our region and
was well worth my investment.
Avalon's slogan 'flying made
easy' was certainly true; parking the car and getting through bag
drop and security took a matter of minutes. My Jetstar flight
out was easy and I arrived at my Accor group hotel just a few short
hours after leaving my house.
I stayed in Broadbeach, a
quieter part of the Gold Coast, but with plenty to do. The
beach was only a short walk and cafes, shops and nightlife were
nearby too. It may seem like a long way to go just for two
nights. However, thanks to the ease of Avalon, I landed back in
Geelong feeling refreshed and as if I had been away for much
More recently, Jetstar announced
Adelaide and Hobart as two other destinations from Avalon. In less
than a year, Jetstar has expanded from a single route to Sydney to
offer local travellers direct flights to four major Australian
cities. The two new routes are great for local tourism, bringing
another 65,000 seats a year into Avalon. From March 2016,
Avalon will be directly linked to a population of more than 6.5
million travellers across four cities.
Accessible, reliable and easily
affordable air services in and out of our region are important for
our local economy. Lower air fares stimulate new growth as more
people can afford to fly more often.
Of course, the benefits flow
further than tourism as we see more local small business owners and
entrepreneurs taking advantage of low fares as they travel to win
new business or visit customers interstate. Conversely, Jetstar's
business friendly schedule, makes it easier for the country's
biggest corporates in Sydney to invest and do business in Geelong.
With these new services, Jetstar
offers visitors the opportunity to see that our region does have
the best of everything. They are a vote of confidence in our
visitor economy and a big boost to the local community.
As Geelong transforms, we
encourage visitors to look at our region through new eyes and take
advantage of easier access via our local airport. After all,
Avalon is the gateway to the world-famous Great Ocean Road, Surf
Coast beaches, Otways and the Bellarine food and wine trail, and
all within easy access to Melbourne.
Rebecca Casson is the Committee
for Geelong Chief Executive Officer. Follow the Committee for
Geelong on Twitter @Comm4Geelong.