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Committee for Geelong's Weekly Addy Opinion Piece - Gold connection via Avalon

Last year, following months of uncertainty, Jetstar committed to continuing its operations from Avalon Airport after reaching an agreement with the Victorian Government and Linfox Group to secure the long-term future of air services to our region.  Under the 10 year partnership, Jetstar undertook to increase services from five to seven per day and offer two new destinations from Avalon. 

One of those destinations was the Gold Coast and, having never stayed there before, I recently decided to visit for a two-night break.  Firstly, it should be noted that I personally paid for all flights and accommodation and this opinion piece is therefore not a subsidised review.  It is written to highlight the vital role both Jetstar and Avalon Airport play in driving tourism and prosperity in our region and was well worth my investment.

Avalon's slogan 'flying made easy' was certainly true; parking the car and getting through bag drop and security took a matter of minutes.  My Jetstar flight out was easy and I arrived at my Accor group hotel just a few short hours after leaving my house.

I stayed in Broadbeach, a quieter part of the Gold Coast, but with plenty to do.  The beach was only a short walk and cafes, shops and nightlife were nearby too.  It may seem like a long way to go just for two nights. However, thanks to the ease of Avalon, I landed back in Geelong feeling refreshed and as if I had been away for much longer!

More recently, Jetstar announced Adelaide and Hobart as two other destinations from Avalon. In less than a year, Jetstar has expanded from a single route to Sydney to offer local travellers direct flights to four major Australian cities. The two new routes are great for local tourism, bringing another 65,000 seats a year into Avalon.  From March 2016, Avalon will be directly linked to a population of more than 6.5 million travellers across four cities.

Accessible, reliable and easily affordable air services in and out of our region are important for our local economy. Lower air fares stimulate new growth as more people can afford to fly more often.

Of course, the benefits flow further than tourism as we see more local small business owners and entrepreneurs taking advantage of low fares as they travel to win new business or visit customers interstate. Conversely, Jetstar's business friendly schedule, makes it easier for the country's biggest corporates in Sydney to invest and do business in Geelong.  

With these new services, Jetstar offers visitors the opportunity to see that our region does have the best of everything. They are a vote of confidence in our visitor economy and a big boost to the local community.

As Geelong transforms, we encourage visitors to look at our region through new eyes and take advantage of easier access via our local airport.  After all, Avalon is the gateway to the world-famous Great Ocean Road, Surf Coast beaches, Otways and the Bellarine food and wine trail, and all within easy access to Melbourne.


Rebecca Casson is the Committee for Geelong Chief Executive Officer. Follow the Committee for Geelong on Twitter @Comm4Geelong.



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