A shuttle bus or similar transport option for passengers on new direct flights into Busselton will be “the key” to the Bunbury Geographe region benefiting, according to the head of Bunbury’s premier tourist attraction.
Jetstar’s website crashed on Friday, minutes after the airline launched its Busselton to Melbourne service with a five-day fare sale, offering passengers one-way tickets for just $89.
The first flight will take off on March 25, making the low-cost carrier the first airline to link the east coast of Australia and the South West.
Direct flights from Melbourne to Busselton will operate Monday, Wednesday and Saturday with more than 1100 seats available weekly.
The new service is predicted to contribute more than $40 million to the WA economy over the next three years, with more than 60,000 visitors in that time.
Dolphin Discovery Centre chief executive David Kerr said providing a “seamless transition” for passengers to Bunbury needed to be a priority for the Bunbury Geographe region.
“I think the key is for us to make it possible for a seamless transition from the airport to Bunbury,” Mr Kerr said.
“What I tend to think of is when I go to Melbourne, I just jump on a sky bus and it takes me to the city — that’s a similar sort of distance and the sort of service I think we need to be able to have here.
“So people can get off that plane without too many dramas at all and then transition to Bunbury ... the connection services are going to be the key for us.”
Mr Kerr said the centre would work with tourism bodies such as Tourism WA and Australia’s South West, along with Bunbury City Council, to continue raising the region’s profile on the back of Friday’s announcement.
He said the flights would have many benefits for Bunbury Geographe.
“It will bring more visitors into the region, which is a very positive thing and we have the opportunity to then market to them,” he said.
“The other thing is, it’s an additional profile to our region — certainly in Melbourne but other locations.
“Generally our challenge is to raise the profile of the Bunbury Geographe region because it’s perhaps the lesser-known of the South West tourism areas — that’s a journey that we’ve commenced and it will pick up momentum over time, so we need to get on the front foot in terms of just letting people know what we have to offer.”