Emirates partnership to help local tourism soar

A NEW partnership between Qantas and Emirates is set to boost local tourism with international bookings opening for 32 Australian destinations including Bundaberg, Mackay and Rockhampton.

The Qantas-Emirates partnership remains subject to government and regulatory approval, and is scheduled to start on March 31.

As part of establishing a joint network, Emirates has started selling airfares to Bundaberg, Brisbane, Cairns, Gladstone, Hervey Bay, Mackay, Gold Coast, Rockhampton and Townsville for visitors from the United Kingdom, Europe, North Africa, South East Asia and the Middle East.

Qantas International Chief Executive Officer Simon Hickey said that because the partnership included tapping into Qantas domestic network, towns outside Australia's capital cities also stood to benefit from the tourism generated by the partnership.

"The partnership between Qantas and Emirates means that Emirates international customers are now able to purchase airfares on the biggest network of Australian destinations," Mr Hickey said.

"Tourism is a huge economic driver for Australia, creating jobs and promoting investment and development.

"This partnership will make travel within Australia easier for visitors and provide tourism operators new opportunities to capitalise on international tourists visiting the country."

Qantas and Emirates are developing marketing campaigns to promote the new joint network that will run in both Australian and international markets, and will be working closely with state-based tourism bodies to profile destinations.

Mr Hickey said travellers from Bundaberg, Cairns, Gladstone, Hervey Bay, Mackay, Gold Coast, Rockhampton and Townsville would also benefit from the partnership.

"Local customers can expect world class travel experiences with more one-stop access to and from Europe, shorter travel times, cheaper airfares and exclusive frequent flyer benefits," he said.

Emirates and Qantas are continuing to finalise details of their partnership, including joint pricing, schedules and frequent flyer benefits.

More details will be announced in coming weeks.

Customers can book on the joint network for travel after March 31 via Qantas.com or via their travel agent.