The bilateral aviation market is Australia's sixth largest, with the number of peo¬ple travelling between the two countries in the 12 months to May up almost 20 per cent on the previous 12month period.
More than 80,000 Thais visited Australia last year, with another 225,000 trav¬ellers en route to Australia transiting via Thailand. Airservice negotiations last month resulted in the maximum number of possible weekly flights increasing from 35 to 40. This will increase again to 45 from next March.
"These increases are vital to our tourism market, as they will improve Australia's access to Bangkok and its extensive network of connections throughout Asia, Europe and the Middle East," Ferguson said.
He said Australia's tourism and aviation industries would work together to capi¬talise on new opportunities presented and maximise potential for growth.
"Providing tourists to Australia a higherquality experience and better value for money will increase Australia's competitiveness as a tourist destination," Ferguson said. The commitment to tourism accreditation and Australia's longterm tourism strategy will help achieve these goals, he added.
Australia hopes the strategy responds to "longstanding supplyside issues such as tourism investment, infrastructure and labour shortages".
Australia is establishing a national tourismaccreditation framework that will "lift the standard of the Australian tourism experience" and allow accredited business¬es to "differentiate themselves as quality operators who meet the expectations of discerning customers".