Etihad Airways has signed a substantial funding agreement with Tourism Australia, which is welcome news for the national tourism body after Qantas announced it will not renew its own funding deal.

Etihad and Tourism Australia will jointly invest A$6 million ($6.3 million) over three years to promote Australia as a tourist destination in Middle Eastern, U.K. and other European markets. Etihad has been increasing its presence on the highly competitive Australia-Europe routes, and it has boosted its Europe feed by expanding its code share arrangements with carriers like Air France-KLM, Alitalia, Czech Airlines and Air Berlin.

Both parties will contribute A$3 million, with the focus on cooperative marketing campaigns to increase traveler numbers. Last week Virgin Australia – which partners with Etihad on Australia routes – announced that it will be doubling its Tourism Australia funding agreement to cover A$12 million over three years.

The new Etihad deal comes a few weeks after the Qantas withdrawal, although discussions between Etihad and Tourism Australia are believed to predate the Qantas announcement.

In late November, Qantas said it would not renew its agreement with Tourism Australia when its current three-year, A$44 million joint investment deal ends. The carrier says the Tourism Australia chairman, Geoff Dixon, has a conflict of interest. Dixon is a former Qantas CEO, and is part of a consortium attempting to increase its shareholding in Qantas.