Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 2 Hansard (8 March) . . Page.. 452..
MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. As all jurisdictions report equally, why do you make this outrageous claim that they do not report such in New South Wales? What evidence do you have to support it?
MR CORBELL: That is the advice I have received from ACT Health.
MS MacDONALD: My question, through you, Mr Speaker, is to Mr Quinlan, on his second-last sitting day, in his capacity as minister for tourism. Can the minister inform the Assembly of the results of the latest international visitor survey for Canberra?
MR QUINLAN: I thank Ms MacDonald for the question. I have good news for Assembly members. International visitation to the ACT in the December quarter increased by 27 per cent over the previous year. I hasten to add that the previous year was not all that flash. Nevertheless, our rate of increase was far in excess of the rate of increase across Australia.
What is more important is that the survey showed that the length of stay of international visitors had increased to an all-time high of 3.3 nights, having been down below two at some stages. If you multiply the number of visitors by the average length of stay, you get a figure of bed nights which is, for the December quarter, better than we have had, according to the records that I have looked back over, for the last five or six years.
This has not just happened by accident. There has been a program of promotion in Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia. We have a specific appointment of a part-time representative in Singapore. We have put the material together, and it is bearing fruit-not just fruit in terms of numbers that are coming to the territory but also in terms of the length of stay and, therefore, the overall benefit to tourism in the ACT.
By coincidence, extending on from the December quarter, I have got a press release from the local AHA advising that in February, the month immediately past, the occupancy rate in Canberra was nearly 80 per cent-78.2 per cent. Mr Fanner of the AHA said in his press release:
... hotels were benefiting from the effectiveness of current marketing strategies ... in the ACT.
Mr Mulcahy: You won't reduce the budget, then?
MR QUINLAN: We might be overachieving at this stage. We would not want one sector to benefit more greatly than another. We have from the Tourism Industry Council:
Again Tourism is responding positively to the investment of the ACT government and contributing substantially to the economy of our region.
The hard work that has been done by Australian Capital Tourism not only in the volume of money but in the smarts they have applied to the job has to be recognised. Work has been done on research, picking markets, assessing what needs to be done and then