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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 26 August 2010) . . Page.. 4058 ..

MR SPEAKER: Ask your question, Mr Hargreaves.

MR HARGREAVES: Can the minister advise the Assembly of the success of the Stromlo Forest Park in delivering for the ACT tourism industry, the economy and the community?

MR BARR: I thank Mr Hargreaves for the question and for his interest in Stromlo Forest Park. Since the ACT Labor government decided to invest in the rejuvenation of Stromlo Forest Park, I think it is fair to say that it has become a much-loved community asset. In fact, it is much loved by ACT tourism operators as well, and the 13,000 Canberrans who work in the tourism industry.

Members will recall that in September last year, Stromlo Forest Park was home to the UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships. These championships were indeed a huge success for Canberra. An independent report by Ernst & Young found that the event injected $7.9 million into the local economy.

A range of other key findings of the reported included that 55 per cent of those who attended were non-ACT residents, 38.7 per cent were ACT residents and 6.3 per cent came from overseas, and 97.8 per cent of interstate visitors and 96.8 per cent of international visitors travelled to Canberra specifically for the event. Just under half of the event’s spectators stayed in a hotel or motel whilst in the ACT, and 83 per cent of interstate and 100 per cent of international visitors intended to visit other Canberra attractions during their time in the city.

It is fair to say also that the event provided excellent exposure for Canberra. It was screened to an estimated global TV audience of over 34 million and an online audience of over 100,000. A total of 223 journalists from around the world were accredited to cover the event, which was broadcast in numerous countries throughout Europe, Asia and the United Kingdom. There were 45,000 day visits during the six-day event period. The event attracted 685 participants from 45 nations to compete in the four biking disciplines.

While these statistics speak for themselves, the event has also attracted significant accolades. In February this year, the outstanding success of the event was recognised as part of an award presented to the team at Territory Venues and Events by the ACT Cycling Federation. It was really pleasing to see Canberra’s cycling community formally recognise the work of the TVE team, led by general manger Neale Guthrie. And this week we have learned that the TVE team and their partner, Earlybird Marketing and Events, have been named as one of the three finalists for the “best sporting event” in the Australian Event Awards—Australia’s premier event awards.

To give the Assembly some idea of the importance of this nomination, the other two finalists are the 2010 Australian Tennis Open, and the 2009 World Masters Games held in Sydney. The awards are judged by an independent panel of judges who are representative of all areas of the industry by sector and by geography. The panel is led by co-chairs John Allen and Sandy Hollway of SOCOG fame.

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