Cheap flights to lure

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh on Sunday announced the government had partnered with the airline and Tourism Tropical North Queensland to offer flights from Los Angeles or San Francisco to Cairns from $US898, with a free stopover in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Auckland.

AMERICANS will be enticed to visit tropical north Queensland with free stopovers in a new travel deal through Qantas.

In Los Angeles for the G’Day USA trade fair, Ms Bligh said the offer was the next best thing to the Best Job in the World – the chance to have the best holiday in the world.

Briton Ben Southall won the position of Great Barrier Reef caretaker through the hugely successful Best Job in the World campaign, and has been promoting Queensland through blogs and interviews for the past six months.

He is joining Ms Bligh at G’Day USA for the first stop on the next part of his mission, a global media spree to talk about his experiences.

The pair has already appeared on the US’s No.1 cable morning news program, FOX & Friends, where Mr Southall spoke about being stung by a jellyfish.

Ms Bligh said Mr Southall would travel to other major cities in the US and Canada after LA.
“During his six months in the Best Job in the World, Ben has had some amazing adventures,” Ms Bligh said in a statement.

“He has made some lifelong friends in the Queenslanders he has met and he is looking forward to taking his experiences to the rest of the world.”

Queensland’s tourist industry employs 222,000 people and is the state’s third largest export earner behind coal and non-ferrous metals.

In the year ending September 2009, US visitors spent $282 million on their trips to Queensland, four per cent more than during the previous year.

Ms Bligh said there were early indications that the Best Job in the World campaign was increasing Queensland’s market share of international visitors in several key markets.

The International Visitor Survey for the year ending September 2009 had showed an increase in visitors from the UK and Europe, particularly younger travellers.

“Tourism Queensland with support from the Queensland government will continue to undertake tactical marketing campaigns in partnership with our airline partners to encourage US visitors to holiday in our state,” Ms Bligh said.

The Qantas flights are on sale until March 31 for travel from May 1 to June 8 and July 24 to September 21 2010.

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