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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 01 Hansard (Tuesday, 13 February 2018) . . Page.. 59 ..

Today we have obviously had the opportunity to attend a series of events with Qatar Airways, who have commenced their new service to Canberra. This service, a Boeing 777-300, for members who are interested, carries just short of 360 passengers. The total seat capacity coming into Canberra now has, with the combination of both Singapore Airlines’ announcement of daily flights together with these announcements, added around 170,000 seats coming into Canberra each year. That is a very significant boost to international aviation capacity for our city.

It is very pleasing to see that what has been a long-term campaign by my government, together with Canberra Airport and tourism industry partners, has delivered a further boost to international aviation capacity. We are seeing that flow through into investment in the tourism and hospitality sector, a sector which, I would remind members, employs more than 16,000 Canberrans.

In 2017 we achieved an all-time record level of both domestic and international visitors to our city and, with this announcement and the commencement of daily services Canberra-Doha, we will add significantly to our tourism numbers in the years ahead. It is a very exciting time for aviation and tourism in Canberra.

MR PETTERSSON: Chief Minister, how will the daily service by Qatar Airways build on Canberra’s reputation as a city to visit in 2018?

MR BARR: This announcement comes on top of the wonderful endorsement from Lonely Planet of Canberra as a very desirable tourism destination, indeed one of the top three cities that people should visit in 2018. I think it gives a further boost to confidence within the tourism and hospitality sector. We have already seen a significant number of announcements of new investment, a new hotel product and new tourism experiences not just within the borders of the ACT but also in the broader Canberra region.

We look forward to seeing further commitment from the airlines. The government will continue to pursue our focus on low-cost carriers in the domestic and international markets as well as looking to international routes that head east to New Zealand and then on to North and South America, and north with a connection through to China. They will be the priorities in aviation growth over the coming years. We look forward to working closely with Canberra Airport and our tourism industry partners to achieve those outcomes.

MS ORR: Chief Minister, how does increased global connectivity affect the territory economy?

MR BARR: It certainly improves our city’s capacity to export both goods and services, and we see, particularly in higher education, for example, where this increased connectivity makes it easier for our territory’s single largest export industry, higher education, to be able to attract and retain students. It is also a wonderful opportunity for producers in the broader Canberra region, and indeed a quite extensive footprint south of the ACT, as getting goods to market through Canberra airport is a more efficient and cost-effective practice than going to the congested Kingsford Smith airport in Sydney.

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