Fresh plug for North Coast in $30m Qantas marketing blitz

NORTH Coast holiday hot spots serviced by Qantas will get a fresh plug in a $30 million marketing blitz showcasing NSW as the ultimate tourist destination.

The airline, which in recent times brought talk show queens Oprah Winfrey and Ellen Degeneres to Australia, has joined forces with the NSW Government to sell Sydney as the gateway to unique adventures.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce confirmed on Monday the campaign would highlight NSW regions serviced by Qantas which include the Ballina/Byron, and Coffs Harbour airports.

Speaking to reporters in Sydney on Monday he said the partnership would target both the international and domestic markets.

Australian Tourism Export Council chief Felicia Mariani said the announcement was critical for inbound tourism and allowed the industry to capitalise on Australia's international position brought about by major promotions like the Ellen visit.

The move was applauded by the Northern Rivers Business Chamber.

President John Murray said local tourism industry would welcome the support at a time when the high Australian dollar was encouraging families to holiday overseas.

He said in a competitive market where nations across the world were trying to attract the growing Asian middle-class, "extra effort" was needed to make NSW stand out.

He also warned an important obstacle - congestion at Sydney Airport - still hindered the state's ability to cope with an influx of tourists.

"The Federal Government needs to deal with the artificial capacity restraints on Kingsford-Smith Airport if we are to welcome more visitors to NSW through our international gateway," Mr Murray said

"It would be a sad outcome to see partnerships such as these working hard to get people to make the decision to come to NSW, only to find that the Federal Government is preventing our state's international airport from meeting its full potential."

Federal Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese has repeatedly flagged his support for a second Sydney Airport but Premier Barry O'Farrell would prefer a fast-rail link to Canberra to ease congestion.

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