Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 11 Hansard (19 September) . .
Tuesday, 19 September 2017
MADAM SPEAKER (Ms Burch) took the chair at 10 am, made a formal recognition that the Assembly was meeting on the lands of the traditional custodians, and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.
Ministerial delegations to China and Hong Kong
MR BARR (Kurrajong—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development and Minister for Tourism and Major Events) (10.01): The government is committed to engaging with potential international partners and investors to raise Canberra's profile in order to attract talent, capital and international business. This, of course, requires a structured and sustained effort. The ACT does not have the resources of other states or territories, so we have to be both strategic and tactical in how we engage internationally. We know that our ability to make successful connections will drive economic growth, which is why we are putting effort into developing relationships in our key target markets.
It was for this reason that I attended a delegation to our sister city Beijing and on the way home from Beijing I led a delegation to Hong Kong, between 26 and 30 August this year. This was aimed at growing Canberra's international visitor economy and promoting our city as a trade and investment destination, to drive economic growth and diversification.
The specific objective of the visit to Beijing was to attend the Australian tourism ministers meeting, along with other state and territory tourism ministers, at the invitation of the Hon Steven Ciobo MP, the federal Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment. In Beijing we also attended a tourism industry briefing, hosted by Mr Gerald Thomson, the Deputy Head of Mission of the Australian Embassy in Beijing.
The tourism ministers meeting was held in China in recognition of the 2017 China-Australia Year of Tourism. The China-Australia Year of Tourism celebrates the close relationship between our two countries, increases people-to-people links, and fosters growth and our ability to capitalise on tourism opportunities. The China National Tourism Administration, the CNTA, was invited as a special guest to mark the occasion. The chairman of the CNTA delivered a presentation on the year of tourism from China's perspective and highlighted opportunities for further cooperation between our two countries.
Members may not be aware that China is one of Australia's fastest growing and highest spending international visitor markets. Over 1.2 million Chinese tourists visited Australia last year, and this is forecast to nearly double by 2020. These same Chinese tourists spent $9.7 billion in Australia to the year ending March 2017, accounting for just under a quarter of the total visitor spend in our economy. More generally, international tourist arrivals to Australia are at record highs, with