Tourism Australia has announced an open skies agreement between Australia and the United States of America, liberalizing the regulation of air services on the trans-Pacific route.

Tourism Australia’s Executive General Manager International, Richard Beere, said the open skies agreement would help Australia to grow tourism from the important US travel market.

The new regulations will promise increased seat capacity and easier access to Australia during the peak periods.

Last year, Australia welcomed 460,000 visitors from the US making it the fourth largest source of international visitors to Australia after New Zealand, the UK and Japan. The US travel market provides around $2 billion in export income to Australia annually.

Tourism Australia is currently planning its international marketing commitments for 2008/09. Additional airline services on the trans-Pacific route are a critical factor in maintaining Tourism Australia’s efforts in the US.