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Direct flights between Perth and Tokyo 'on the cards'

Australian tourism officials are exploring the possibility of launching non-stop direct flights between Western Australia (WA) and Japan.

The route that is being considered is Perth to Tokyo, with tourism leaders believing it would bring a significant tourism boost to Australia, alongside attracting a greater number of business investors from the Japanese market.

Australia's tourism minister Paul Papalia has this week travelled to Japan accompanied by executives from Tourism WA to meet with officials from Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways to discuss the possibility of introducing flight routes between Perth and Tokyo in the near future.

Japan is a market that Australia is interested in attracting more leisure and business travellers from, with Mr Papalia believing that direct flights between the two nations will help to bring an extra 140,000 people a year down under from Japan.

However, just 70,000 additional visitors from Japan would provide a $297 million boost to the Australian economy, so if Tourism WA's predictions are correct, the economic benefits of a direct link could be enormous.

Tourism officials want direct daily flights to serve this section of the Asia-Pacific market, which would be served by Boeing 787 aircraft.

Australia has been committed to driving more custom from Asian markets in recent months. Although China has long been a huge source of business and tourism for the market down under, efforts have been stepped up more recently to attract more visitors from India and Japan.

Mr Papalia commented: "We have a great story with natural attractions and more affordable hotel accommodation on the back of the traditional business connection.

"It is essential that we visit Japan and China and reinforce our commitment to tourism and direct flights.

"Our government is determined to make Perth the alternative gateway to Australia and unlock the state's huge tourism potential."

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