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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 12 Hansard (22 November) . . Page.. 3737..


Tourism

MR GENTLEMAN: My question is to the minister for tourism. Could the minister provide the Assembly with an update on new tourism investments and incentives for the ACT?

MR BARR: I thank Mr Gentleman for his question and for his longstanding support for the tourism industry in the ACT. I say from the outset that it has been a very good year for tourism in the ACT. We have had a $108 million increase in domestic overnight visitor expenditure in the territory—up to $930 million in the 2006-07 financial year. Hotel occupancy rates have risen by three percentage points, to 73 per cent. I am very pleased to advise that takings from accommodation increased from $159 million to $185 million in the 2006-07 financial year. Visitors are staying longer: the average length of stay has increased to 3.2 nights, compared to 2.8 in the previous financial year.

Mr Mulcahy: Is it in your briefing notes—what your source of data is?

MR SPEAKER: Order, Mr Mulcahy!

MR BARR: This year we have seen the best ever Floriade. The theme "Aussie icons, myths and legends"resulted in the largest ever number of visitors through the turnstiles at Floriade. When the final figures are released, we are expecting that in the order of 395,000 visitors will have enjoyed what was the best ever Floriade. With the strong growth that we are seeing in this event, the next step is to find a permanent home. The government is currently investigating a range of sites. We hope to be able to announce a new, permanent site for Floriade next year.

On 9 November, I had the great pleasure of attending the Canberra and capital region tourism awards in our new, beautifully renovated National Convention Centre. That was $30 million very well spent and is a great asset for the territory in attracting business tourism to Canberra. To build on this $30 million, the government has provided additional funding for the Canberra Convention Bureau. This financial year the government is investing $800,000 in the bureau; the investment will rise to $1 million per year in 2009-10.

We need to constantly find new ways to better market ourselves and to stimulate demand for tourism in the region. The revitalisation of the "See yourself"brand creative is an example of this. This reinforces our branding position. It demonstrates the breadth of tourism experiences that we have to offer and also takes the opportunity to challenge some of the negative perceptions and stereotypes of our city.

The government is committed to enhancing the range of tourism experiences on offer in Canberra and the region. Through significant funding for initiatives such as Tidbinbilla nature park and Stromlo Forest Park, we are building on this diversity of tourism experiences.

Stromlo Forest Park, spread over 400 hectares, includes a purpose-built event pavilion, a criterium cycling circuit, the newly opened Rob de Castella cross-country


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