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Tourism Boom For Fiji & Vanuatu After 12 Months

29/09/2005

29 September 2005: Virgin Blue’s lower fares philosophy has contributed to a boom in visitor numbers to Fiji and Vanuatu after the first twelve months of flights to Nadi and Port Vila by Virgin Blue’s international airline Pacific Blue^.


Pacific Blue^ flights from Australia to both Fiji and Vanuatu were launched one year ago this month driving spectacular growth in visitor numbers including:


56% growth Brisbane-Fiji since Pacific Blue entry*

47% growth Melbourne-Fiji since Pacific Blue entry*

21% growth overall Australia-Fiji since Pacific Blue entry*

37% growth Brisbane-Vanuatu since Pacific Blue’s entry*

Virgin Blue Chief Executive, Brett Godfrey, said, “The spin offs from this increase in visitor numbers are far-reaching for Fiji and Vanuatu in terms of economic benefits and jobs and we are delighted to have supported Vanuatu Tourism Organisation and Fiji Visitors Tourism Bureau in what is a spectacular tourism achievement.”


“We launched South Pacific flights with the direct intention of stimulating the market and creating more demand. We have always emphasised the aim of “growing the pie” and making it more affordable for more people to travel.”


He continued, “Virgin Blue is five years old this year and we are intent on taking the affordable fares philosophy we brought to Australia to new market segments including business travel and to new destinations including the South Pacific Island countries. The impact of low cost carriers on the tourism industry is blatantly obvious and it’s clear that more Australians have been attracted to the South Pacific due to the affordable fares that true competition brings.”


Since launching services to Nadi and Port Vila 12 months ago, Pacific Blue has increased capacity on both routes as well as introducing direct flights from Sydney to Fiji.


Today, Pacific Blue offers 11 flights per week to Fiji, with direct services from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, while Vanuatu has two direct flights per week from Brisbane.


Virgin Blue’s international airline Pacific Blue has recently announced it will commence flights from both Australia and New Zealand to Tonga` in October, and flights between Australia/New Zealand and Samoa` will commence from late October to be operated by Polynesian Blue, the new joint venture carrier formed between Virgin Blue and the Government of Samoa.


^ International flights to New Zealand operated by Pacific Blue Airlines (N.Z.) Ltd.  International flights to Fiji, Vanuatu, Tonga and the Cook Islands offered by Pacific Blue Airlines (Aust) Pty. Ltd. and operated by Pacific Blue Airlines (N.Z.) Ltd. International flights to Samoa offered by Polynesian Blue Limited using Pacific Blue Airlines (N.Z) Ltd. Aircraft


` Subject to regulatory approval


* Bureau of Transport and Regional Services (BTRE) publication "International Scheduled Air Transport - Aviation Statistics" and are for the period September 04 to April 05.