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Cairns tourism Japan mission

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A mission of senior Cairns executives leaves for Japan mid-March in a bid to win a greater share of the Japanese tourist market. Eleven representatives of leading tourism operations will travel alongside Cairns mayor Val Schier, Jetstar Airways chief commercial officer David Koczkar and Tourism Tropical North Queensland executives including chairman Bill Calderwood, chief executive officer Rob Giason and Japan director Harry Niihori. They will present the Cairns Vision for 2015 to industry leaders in Osaka and Tokyo. Giason said the mission will provide a chance to discuss aviation links between Japan and Cairns and review the state of the market. "This is the biggest type of mission we have undertaken in a number of years," he said. Cairns aims to raise the number of Japanese visitors to the Northern tip of Australia to 211,000 each year by 2015. Before the global financial crisis 240,000 Japanese tourists visited Cairns each year. But in 2009 airline carriers cut direct flights from Japan to Cairns, and visitor numbers dropped to 106,000 last year. "We are saying [to Japan] that we are recovering from the loss of airline seats and are seeing the market grow," Giason said. He hopes the participation of high-level executives in the tourism industry will provide a strong statement to their Japanese hosts.

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