29 Mar 2012

Underwritten Air New Zealand flights could be saviour of Norfolk Island

8:14 pm on 29 March 2012

Norfolk Island's tourism head says guaranteed flights from Australia should help to grow the industry.

A recent report by the Australian Government paints a bleak picture of the Island's economy, but its chief minister says tourism remains the most viable way out of its economic depression.

Air New Zealand this month began flying from Sydney and Brisbane to Norfolk, with the routes underwritten by the Australian government.

The general managment of the Norfolk Island Government Tourism Bureau, Glen Buffett, says that means there's a set amount of routes and schedules that will be maintained.

"We have a clear understanding of how many seats we have into the island and how many we can sell and what sort of capacity we are able to attract over the next three years and that helps us set realistic targets for the future as well, so it gives everyone a much [more] solid platform to build their business and have an understanding of what we can achieve."

Glen Buffett says the industry peaked at about 40-thousand visitors, should average about 25-thousand this year, and a realistic target would be around 30-thousand.