Hon Roger Cook BA GradDipBus MBA MLA

Hon Roger Cook BA GradDipBus MBA MLA

Deputy Premier; Minister for State Development, Jobs and Trade; Hydrogen Industry; Tourism; Science

    Exmouth follows stunning Solar Eclipse success with first direct flight from Melbourne

    1/05/2023 7:05 AM
    • First direct flight between Melbourne and Exmouth (Learmonth Airport) lands today
    • New Qantas service will bring thousands of out-of-State visitors to Ningaloo Reef
    • Inaugural flight launch follows huge success of recent Total Solar Eclipse

    The first direct flight between Melbourne and Exmouth will touch down today, with the new service set to bring thousands more out-of-State visitors to Ningaloo Reef.


    The launch of the new Qantas return service comes after the huge success of this month's Total Solar Eclipse which attracted global attention on Exmouth and the surrounding region.


    The flights will run twice weekly on Thursdays and Sundays during Exmouth's peak tourism period from April to October.


    The five-hour direct flights will save travellers more than three hours' travel time compared to flying from Melbourne to Learmonth via Perth.


    The new service will run on a Qantas Boeing 737 aircraft, with more than 18,000 seats available across the peak season.


    Passengers on the inaugural flight will receive a limited-edition amenity kit featuring artwork by Western Australian Wongi Artist Kevin Wilson.


    The new flight route is being supported by the McGowan Government, through Tourism WA. It will connect interstate and international travellers to the popular regional tourism destination, which welcomed an average of 151,000 visitors in 2021 and 2022.


    Exmouth has received unprecedented global attention in the past week because of the success of the Total Solar Eclipse. The astronomical event was backed by the McGowan Government's Dark Sky Festival which turned the eclipse into more than a one-day event.

    It also reinforced the Ningaloo Reef and its famous whale sharks featured heavily in Tourism WA's global tourism brand, Walking On A Dream.


    Exmouth also recently received national recognition after being named Australia's Top Small Tourism Town for 2022 at the Australian Top Tourism Awards in Canberra.


    Anticipation for the new flight has been steadily building, with a Tourism WA event held in Melbourne in February amplifying awareness of the region by treating trade and travel media to local WA seafood and wines.


    The event also highlighted the unique experiences on offer in Exmouth. As part of the promotion, commuters in Federation Square were given 'Turquoise Tickets' with the chance to win a trip for two to Exmouth including return flights.


    Tourism WA has undertaken a range of marketing activities to support the new route. In the partnership with Qantas, the iconic whale sharks took over the streets of the Melbourne CBD throughout February and March with large format out-of-home advertising on Melbourne trams and street furniture. Tourism WA also partnered with Qantas on co-operative marketing activity across social media and the Qantas Travel Insider.


    A trade media campaign ran through March and April and a travel agent incentive launched last week, offering agents the opportunity to win a trip for two to Exmouth when they book the flight for their clients.


    The Tourism WA event, held alongside Qantas and Exmouth's Australia's Coral Coast Regional Tourism Organisation, and various campaign activities all helped drive awareness of the new air route ahead of its launch.


    Find out more about the new service between Melbourne and Exmouth at http://www.qantas.com.au


    Comments attributed to Tourism Minister Roger Cook:


    "The first flight arriving in Exmouth is perfectly timed after the phenomenal success of the Total Eclipse last week. The goodwill and positive publicity for Exmouth and the wider region from tourists and international media was exceptional.


    "How WA handled the eclipse is going to reverberate for a long time to come as we continue to promote this extraordinary destination.


    "Ningaloo Reef offers one of the most amazing marine adventures in the world – visitors can Walk On A Dream straight off the beach, and snorkel over superb coral gardens teeming with colourful fish.


    "Exmouth is also home to the iconic whale shark, the friendly giant of the WA seas, as well as humpback whales and manta rays and turtles, which are all accessible for visitors to interact with throughout the peak season.


    "This new direct flight will make it even easier for interstate and international visitors to get to Exmouth and experience everything this beautiful region has to offer, and we are delighted to work with our valued aviation partner Qantas, to support this new service and drive strong tourism outcomes for the state."


    Minister's office - 6552 6500