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Friday, March 21, 2014

Virgin Australia Anchors Port Stephens on Destination Map and Indonesian Traffic to Region Set to Take Off

The new listing of Port Stephens as a destination for Virgin Australia flights and the success of a trade 
Indonesia mission - Tars Bylhouwer and Hisar Hutapea - from Golden Rama - Indonesian travel company - and Michael Stern - Moonshadow Cruisesmission to Indonesia have provided a major shot in the arm for Port Stephens’ expanding $400 million visitor economy.

Virgin Australia has begun co-listing the destination, 2.5 hours north of Sydney, as Newcastle-Port Stephens on its website and booking engine in recognition of Port Stephens’ growing status as a popular destination for holidaymakers and corporate travellers from Australia and overseas.
Newcastle Airport - the second busiest airport in NSW and the 12th busiest in Australia, with an $11.1 million terminal expansion starting this year - is located in the Port Stephens council region, just 25 minutes from the Port Stephens holiday centre of Nelson Bay but until this year, Virgin’s direct flights from Melbourne and Brisbane to the region were listed only as ‘Newcastle’. Last year, Jetstar also started listing the region as Newcastle-Port Stephens for its direct flights to the airport from Melbourne, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
Destination Port Stephens Marketing Manager, Tars Bylhouwer, said the move by Virgin and Jetstar followed years of liaison with the airlines and was a pivotal change that reaffirmed growing recognition of Port Stephens as a holiday drawcard and also a destination for business, conference and incentive travellers.
Newcastle Airport“Co-ranking with Newcastle as an airline destination reflects confidence by the airlines in Port Stephens’ interstate appeal and will help attract more Australians to our area, which offers spectacular coastal scenery, wildlife, adventure activities, gourmet food and wine and first-rate accommodation and conference facilities,” Mr Bylhouwer said.
He said a tourism trade mission to Indonesia last month by Destination Port Stephens and local tourism operator, Moonshadow Cruises, in conjunction with Tourism Australia, had paved the way for an increase in visits to Port Stephens by leisure and corporate travellers.
“Our visit to Indonesia revealed a pent up demand for new incentive destinations, where companies reward top-performing staff with holidays, Mr Bylhouwer said. “This lucrative market is one we are targeting at Port Stephens, with tourism bodies in Newcastle and the Hunter Valley joining our initiatives in the high-yield MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and events) arena.
“The location of Newcastle-Port Stephens Airport means holiday and corporate travellers can drive to Port Stephens by coach or car, enjoy activities like a dolphin cruise, sand dune slide and koala walk and then after a night’s stay in the area, fly direct from our region to Queensland to continue their trip,” he said. “This is an increasingly popular itinerary for Indonesians and visitors from other countries and one we are promoting heavily, with Virgin’s move to co-list the airport as Newcastle-Port Stephens providing just the boost we need.”
Newcastle-Port Stephens Airport now services 170 domestic flights a week and 1.2 million passengers a year. Two hotels, together worth $19 million, are scheduled to be built next to the airport this year.
For detailed information on accommodation, dining, attractions, activities, events and maps, visit Destination Port Stephens’ website - www.portstephens.org.au as well as www.portstephens.org.au/conferences.
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