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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Port Stephens Becomes a Destination on Airline Booking Engines And Region Paves Way for Wave of Indian Visitors

Newcastle Airport1Jetstar has started co-listing Port Stephens as a destination for its flights to Newcastle, with Virgin Australia set to follow next month in a move that reaffirms the growing status of Port Stephens, 2.5 hours north of Sydney, as a major destination for holidaymakers and business travellers across Australia.

Newcastle Airport - the second busiest airport in NSW and the 12th busiest in Australia - will soon see its terminal facilities expanded following a $11.1 million grant from the NSW Government. The airport is located in the Port Stephens council region, just 25 minutes from the Port Stephens holiday centre of Nelson Bay but until this month, Jetstar’s direct flights from Melbourne, Brisbane and the Gold Coast to the region were listed only as ‘Newcastle’. The destination is now listed on Jetstar’s booking engine and flight map as ‘Newcastle- Port Stephens’.

Virgin Australia is expected to make a similar change for its direct flights to Newcastle-Port Stephens in October, 2013.

Destination Port Stephens Marketing Manager, Tars Bylhouwer, said the move by Jetstar and Virgin followed years of liaison with the airlines and was a crucial, watershed change that would boost Port Stephens’ $400 million-plus visitor economy.

“This change in the destination listing may appear to be a small development but it elevates Port Stephens to the ranking of a major interstate holiday destination and reflects the airlines’ confidence in Port Stephens as an increasingly popular drawcard,” Mr Bylhouwer said. “Just as Ballina is co-listed by airlines as a destination as Byron Bay and Maroochydore as the Sunshine Coast, Port Stephens now shares airline destinational ranking with Newcastle, which will lead to more Australians nationwide considering Port Stephens for their next holiday.”

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Newcastle Airport at Williamtown now services 170 domestic flights a week and almost 1.2 million passengers a year. Jetstar, Virgin Australia, Qantas Link, Rex and Brindabella Airlines offer direct flights from Newcastle-Port Stephens to Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney, the Gold Coast, Canberra and Ballina/Byron Bay. A 95-room hotel and a 50-room motel, together worth $19 million, are scheduled to be built next to Newcastle Airport in 2014 - the first accommodation at the expanding airport.

Meanwhile, a trade mission to India last month by Destination Port Stephens has led to the region’s inclusion in new fly/drive itineraries and brochured group tours for the surging number of Indian travellers expected to visit Australia over the next seven years. India is one of the world’s fastest- growing outbound travel markets, with Tourism Australia forecasting the number of Indian visitors to Australia to more than double from 148,000 in 2011 to 300,000 in 2020, with new direct and low-cost flights between the countries fuelling the increase.

For detailed information on accommodation, dining, attractions, activities, events, holiday deals and maps, Destination Port Stephens’ new-look website - www.portstephens.org.au - provides a one-stop-shop on visiting Port Stephens.
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