How the state is spreading its wings

DIRECT aviation access to Queensland is vital to growing tourism and our economy.

By securing more direct flights, we make it easier for tourists, international students and businesses to come to Queensland.

We listened to industry and at the last state election, our government committed more funding than ever before to secure new flights.

Through our Attracting Aviation Investment Fund, we've significantly grown global connections including new direct flights to Vancouver, Chicago and Shenzhen.

In total, we've secured 28 new flights opening up three million more airline seats to Queensland.

This is worth more than $2 billion to our economy.

But we know, aviation is a globally competitive commercial enterprise.

A worldwide shortage of aircraft, pilots and airport slots are a huge challenge for the industry.

The grounding of the Boeing 737 Max, geopolitical tensions and rising oil prices have made the fight for flights more fierce than ever before.

But we are lucky - Queensland has a huge natural advantage. We have some of the world's most beautiful and recognisable destinations. And we are using our co-investment through aviation attraction to grow our market share.

This strategy has had a huge shot in the arm with the billions of dollars in investment in new and upgraded airports across Queensland.

It's great to see progress on Brisbane Airport's $1.3 billion expansion.

This new infrastructure is important when it comes to growing Queensland's share of the global tourism market.

While China will continue to be our number one trading partner and tourism source, we are also focused on opening up new markets.

For example, over the next 20 years, India will be a major focus for Queensland.

With a population that is expected to grow by 135 million and economy expected to almost double over the next decade it's crucial that we work with airlines to secure easy access for Indian tourists.

Already we've seen growth in visitor numbers from India with tourism spend more than doubling in the last five years.

And the numbers will continue to grow.

It's a similar story in the Middle East, Singapore and Japan, with airlines increasingly catching up to consumer demand for direct flights to some of the world's most iconic tourism destinations.

More tourists than ever before are coming here - as reflected in the latest tourism data with 28.1 million tourists spending a record $24.8 billion in Queensland over the last year.

We'll continue to work with tourism operators along with airports and airlines to improve access to Queensland and grow this important industry.

Kate Jones is Queensland's Tourism Industry Development Minister