Whanganui could boost its aviation industry by working closer with sister city Toowoomba, Whanganui and Partners chief executive Mark Ward says.
Ward and Whanganui district councillor Alan Taylor spent six days at the Asia Pacific Cities Summit and the Asian Century Conference in Brisbane, and also visited Whanganui's sister city Toowoomba.
The city is around three times bigger than Whanganui with a population of 135,000 and regional economy worth A$10.8 billion.
Ward said the purpose of the trip was to use the sister city relationship to investigate mutual business development opportunities.
"Toowoomba and Whanganui's economies have similar strengths, for instance our manufacturing, logistics and agribusiness sectors, and stakeholders I've met with share a desire to see our industries cooperating at a deeper level.
"Toowoomba is one of the fastest growing regions in Australia with annual GDP growth averaging 3.5 per cent over the last 10 years.
"It's also a very liveable city, with affordable housing, a beautiful and thriving CBD and a friendly culture. Not only are they a high-performing region to partner with, but they offer an attractive model for our growth."
Ward said Toowoomba's aviation industry was one point of interest, with Whanganui and Partners looking to advance Whanganui as an internal trade centre for the lower North Island.
"Toowoomba has made the most of its regional airport, Wellcamp. It's an impressive operation that serves Queensland with scheduled passenger flights to other states as well as a weekly Boeing 747 freighter to Hong Kong that allocates 40 per cent of its payload to exports from Toowoomba.
"By working with our counterparts in Toowoomba on various aviation solutions, I hope to re-establish Whanganui as a centre for international trade in high value goods and bilateral tourism.
"I see a lot of potential here and look forward to discussing these opportunities with the business community, iwi leaders and our council."