Australian state struggling for tourists banks on AirAsia X for more visitors

An AirAsia X Airbus A340 passenger jet arrives on its inaugural flight from Kuala Lumpur to Paris Orly Airport in this February 14, 2011 file photo. — Reuters pic
An AirAsia X Airbus A340 passenger jet arrives on its inaugural flight from Kuala Lumpur to Paris Orly Airport in this February 14, 2011 file photo. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, July 11 — Western Australia signed yesterday a multi million-ringgit deal with leading low-cost airline AirAsia X aimed at invigorating the Australian state’s struggling tourism sector, the Sydney Morning Herald reported yesterday.

The paper said the marketing deal is meant to encourage holiday-makers in Malaysia, China, India and Japan to visit WA by promoting cheap airfares in print, television, radio, cinema and online advertising.

The move was part of a A$12 million (RM34.4 million) international marketing push by the Australian state government, and is expected to attract more than 29,000 new visitors.

“This deal with AirAsia X will provide that in some of our important markets such as Malaysia, India, China and Japan,” WA Tourism Minister Paul Papalia was quoted as saying.

“Growing tourism is key to the state government's plan to diversify the economy, create jobs and develop business opportunities.

“It is the biggest international marketing push in the state's history and we hope to see thousands more people come to WA as a result of this surge in activity.”

Papalia announced the deal at the airline's headquarters in Sepang, Selangor yesterday, during which he said low airfares were a strong drawcard for travellers.

Last month, Australian daily WAtoday reported extensively on the struggles of the state's tourism sector, with the industry raising alarm over the declining number of leisure tourists to WA.

Experts had warned the falling numbers of international students were partially to blame, as WA was missing out on the friends and relatives international students traditionally brought to the state.

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