Western Australia and Tasmania will be connected by non-stop flights from September 2018, with Virgin Australia offering a three times weekly service between Perth and Hobart.
To operate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, the service will commence just in time for the September school holidays.
Congratulating the airline on the move, Western Australian Acting Tourism Minister Bill Johnston said the new flights would “make it easier and more attractive for Tasmanians to come and explore all the things WA has to offer, including watching a footy match at Optus Stadium, swimming with whale sharks on the Ningaloo Reef or exploring the magnificent Kimberley region”.
“Increasing aviation access to Western Australia is important in helping us attract more visitors to the State and cementing our reputation as Australia's western gateway,” he said in a statement.
National Visitor Survey data shows around 41,300 Tasmanians visit WA every year, while Tourism Tasmania statistics show more than 50,000 Western Australians visited the Apple Isle in the year to March.
Without the need to connect through Melbourne, Sydney or Adelaide, Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania CEO Luke Martin said the new flights would open the state up to international visitors like never before.
“The ability to be able to market Tasmania as a single-stop destination from London, or any of the European or Asian markets, is just a game-changer for us," he told ABC Radio Hobart.
“But also there are 2 million people living in Western Australia who currently look at the proposition of coming to Tasmania potentially through a seven or eight-hour trip via stopping in Melbourne.”
Meanwhile, Qantas will bring back B747s on some transcontinental flights to Perth, the West Australian reported. From 22 July, the flying roo will also upgrade to a larger A330 on Perth-Singapore flights.