With travel restrictions in NSW easing on 1 June, Novocastrians are expected to spread their wings in record numbers.
A recent poll conducted by Tourism Australia and Newcastle Airport revealed Hunter residents are twice as likely to return to leisure air travel within the next three months, compared to the rest of the country.
Findings indicate that 86% of locals are intending to take a trip for leisure within the next 12 months.
However, travel requirements and expectations of the surveyed group did vary.
Of the 1,000 people polled, 43% said getting the right connections from Newcastle Airport had the most positive influence on their decision and 22% said low cost airfares was most important.
Newcastle Airport Chief Executive, Dr Peter Cock, said the results would support the airport’s fight for increased traffic.
“We’ve been in positive discussions with airlines about a resumption of services to and from our region, so the message this polling sends will certainly support our case for more flights,” he said.
“A very high proportion of our region are keen to travel once restrictions are lifted and they require our help to connect them to the rest of the country.
“In our efforts to be the airport our region deserves; we feel compelled to do the best we can to support that demand.”
Dr Cock said returning to air travel post pandemic would look a little different.
“Our community has also sent a strong signal that they want travelling to be safe and we have ensured appropriate measures are in place.
“This is in addition to the programs being implemented by airlines such as the Qantas Fly Well initiative.“
Contactless check-ins, sequenced boardings, hand sanitising stations and the use of masks are some of the changes passengers are likely to experience.
The boost in visitor numbers was an exciting prospect for the region, Dr Cock said.
“Of course, it’s not just local people who want to travel that will benefit – our regional tourism destinations will clearly be the beneficiaries of an increase in leisure travel in the coming weeks and months,” he said.
“We know that travel within NSW begins in earnest on 1 June, which is great for places such as Newcastle, Port Stephens and Hunter Wine Country.
“We think that, with no international travel on the horizon, the airport can drive real outcomes for the local visitor economy through domestic interstate connections at a time when they are so desperately needed.”