North's tourism numbers set to take off

LAUNCESTON tourism is set for a traveller influx in the next two months with discount carrier Jetstar set to bring more than 100,000 travellers into Launceston Airport in February and March.

The arrivals time well with a packed Launceston events' calendar and should provide a late summer boon for Launceston tourist, hospitality and retail operators.

Jetstar Australia and New Zealand chief executive David Hall said the airline had added about 200,000 seats to the Launceston market over the past two years.

Mr Hall said there had been double-digit passenger growth across those capital city routes to Launceston last financial year.

He said more than 100,000 Jetstar passengers were expected to arrive at Launceston Airport over two months from February.

Mr Hall said the company expected to see strong load factors through to Easter.

Launceston Airport celebrates 10 years as part of the Jetstar network this May.

The airport itself saw 1.22 million passengers pass through the terminal last year _ a record figure and an 8 per cent increase on the year before.

Launceston Airport general manager Paul Hodgen said Jetstar had transformed the landscape of air travel in Launceston since it started services. 

"They [Jetstar] have continued to add services to support Launceston and Northern Tasmanians so we were really pleased with the most recent additional services to key destinations," Mr Hodgen said.

Tourism figures for the year until the end of September showed a 10 per cent growth of air arrivals in the North with 529,200 passengers.

Tourism Minister Scott Bacon said an extra $1 million in this year's budget for tourism marketing had proven to be a good investment decision through increased visitation.

Jetstar last September partnered with Tourism Tasmania in a $300,000 marketing campaign to promote the state to Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane residents.

The carrier offers 66 return services, with 23,760 available seats each week in and out of Launceston from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

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