A new bi-lateral aviation agreement with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), recently announced by the Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss MP, is fantastic news for our tourism industry.

Minister for Tourism and International Education, Richard Colbeck welcomed the announcement on increased capacity for Australian and UAE airlines.

Senator Colbeck said that from October 2016, the airlines of Australia and the UAE will be able to increase services by an extra 28 flights each week.

“Air services are a vital component for increasing Australia’s tourism, education, trade and investment connectivity,” said Senator Colbeck.

“The UAE is an important and increasingly significant aviation hub for Australian tourism and trade.

“It’s also an important and growing trading partner with AUD2.96 billion worth of merchandise exports from Australia in 2014 which was an increase of 12 per cent from the previous year.

There has been significant growth in food and beverage exports to the Gulf region over the last five years, with a 43 per cent increase over the period.

This growth was driven primarily by expanded cargo capacity, rising income and population, and by Dubai’s strategic location as a gateway to Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Tourism and education made a sizeable contribution to this figure with almost 600 students from the UAE studying in Australia in 2014, primarily in the higher education space; and short term visitor arrivals from the UAE increased three per cent to 38,100 in the year ending September 2015.

“Australia’s relationship with the Gulf region is built on substantial people-to-people linkages – with over 20,000 Australians living and working in the UAE and Qatar the government will ensure this relationship continues to grow,” said Senator Colbeck.

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