Greyhound and Virgin team up for Cairns-first holiday deal
A LEADING airline and bus company have launched an Australia-first to get more than 100,000 backpackers to Cairns each year more easily and quickly.
The alliance by Virgin Australia and Greyhound Australia aims to expedite the travel of the young tourists from major gateways such as Sydney to Cairns.
Greyhound Australia chief executive officer Neil Taylor said the first-time partnership would help "accelerate a sluggish tourism recovery around the regional centre".
He said the plan was to fly the travellers from the major gateways of Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne first before they returned south by the more leisurely bus trip.
Mr Taylor said it was a radical departure from the usual practice of tourists bussing from south to north along the Queensland coast with stopovers along the way.
"By the time visitors get to Cairns they can be travel weary and out of spending money," he said.
"Greyhound and Virgin Australia are going to turn this tradition on its head by enticing travellers into Cairns to start their adventure."
Packages start from $420 from Brisbane and $490 from Sydney.
"The closest many tourists get to Cairns is flying over it on the way to Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne," Mr Taylor said.
Virgin Queensland industry sales manager Neil Robertson said they were not only targeting young international visitors but Australians as well with a bit of a "youth renaissance" involving young people wanting to see Australia.
Mr Robertson said the airline was providing Greyhound with competitive and flexible fares with travellers guaranteed attractive Virgin Australia fares to Cairns on any day.
Greyhound sales general manager Kevin Lyons said 35 per cent of the 1.3 million passengers it carried each year were international backpackers.
"They choose not to fly so they can see Australia and we can deliver them to the hot spots such as Cairns," he said.
Mr Lyons said they could now get to Cairns, having paid for and arranged their travel in advance, without spending all their cash.
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Radical:Neil Robertson (Virgin) and Neil Taylor (Greyhound) at yesterday's partnership launch. Picture: STEWART McLEAN.