Rich events calendar has planes packed

TOURISM Northern Tasmanian says the region was reporting a better summer than last, buoyed by cheaper flights into Launceston.

Low cost airline Jetstar yesterday announced that it would bring more than 100,000 passengers into Launceston Airport over February and March, in time for a packed events calendar for the city.

Notable events include Festivale, Breath of Life, A Day on The Green, The Red Hot Summer Tour with Suzi Quatro, and Beaconfield's Festival of Golden Words writers festival.

Jetstar has regularly provided cheap fares from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane into Launceston.

Its Australia Day sale, opened yesterday, continued the trend by offers of $39 flights from Melbourne, $55 flights from Sydney, and $99 flights from Brisbane during winter.

TNT chairwoman James McKee said seat capacity and affordable flights were key to boosting Tasmanian tourism.

"(For) most tourists once they have been once, will keep coming back," he said.

Mr McKee said operators seemed to be reaping the benefits of affordable summer flights.

"It is anecdotal at this stage but the sentiment is that things are better than last year - not wildly better, and not in all parts of the tourism industry, but in general definitely better," he said.

He said Tourism Northern Tasmania was developing travelling itineraries to connect visitors to the region with the best experiences, and to make it easy to get around.

"We have developed a content rich website and portal to help them while they are here and, very importantly, to inspire them to return, preferably in the off-season and winter," Mr McKee said.

•Hans van Pelt was yesterday appointed the state's first Aviation and Access Development Director.

The position has been created by the government to maximise air and sea capacity to and from Tasmania.

Tourism Minister Scott Bacon said while tourism was a major beneficiary of having better access to and from the state, agriculture, food production, and education sectors would benefit from Mr van Pelt's appointment.

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