Tasmania appears set to establish a direct flight route with New Zealand for the first time in more than 20 years, with bookings able to be made within the coming days.
The Tasmanian government has reached an agreement on commercial terms with Air New Zealand for a new direct service between Auckland and Hobart, which is expected to begin around Anzac Day.
Premier Peter Gutwein said he was "very excited" about the news.
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"Air New Zealand will fly from Auckland to Hobart and return on Thursdays and Sundays, with the possibility of a third flight as demand increases," Mr Gutwein said on Friday.
"Air New Zealand is a global brand with a great reputation. It has a significant New Zealand customer base and importantly has connections with key priority overseas markets as well."
"This is great news for our community and, importantly, for our tourism industry, as we head into the quieter winter months."
Before COVID-19, Tasmania welcomed to the island about 25,000 New Zealanders a year. Mr Gutwein said the government "only expect this to increase" with the advent of direct of flights.
"I am firmly of the view that Tasmania is viewed by the world now as one of the safest places on the planet. And I think this is a first step," he said.
"I see this initial arrangement will be over a two-year period. But I would like to think that ... we can use this as a stepping stone to further international flights arriving in Tasmania."
The Premier said he was "quietly confident" that a travel bubble would be established between Australia and New Zealand before the direct flights began.
People entering Australia from New Zealand are not currently required to quarantine when they arrive here, but they are upon their return home.
The Tasmanian government will underwrite the direct flights in some capacity but Mr Gutwein said he could not elaborate further on that for "commercial-in-confidence" reasons.
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