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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 2 Hansard (28 February) . . Page.. 414 ..


MRS CARNELL (Chief Minister) (3.23): Mr Speaker, for the information of members, I present a report on preliminary estimates of the economic benefits for the ACT of the Sydney 2000 Olympics, and I move:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

Mr Speaker, this report was compiled primarily by the industry policy and analysis section of the Bureau of Business and Regional Development. It has emerged from a high-level working party set up by the Government, comprising members of the Bureau of Sport, Recreation and Racing, Canberra Tourism, the Office of Financial Management and the industry policy unit. This group was asked to undertake a detailed analysis of the economic benefits to the ACT emanating from the Sydney 2000 Olympics. The report is based on the most recent assessment of the latest Tourism Forecasting Council figures for international visitors to Australia. It also outlines three forecast scenarios for the number of international visitors - high, low and medium - and their economic impact upon Canberra.

The report has some clear messages for the ACT. Our reaction must be immediate and aggressive if we are to capture as much of the business as possible from international visitation. The report states that Canberra's share of the international visitor market has declined from 15 per cent to 9 per cent over the past 13 years. That represents a significant loss of market share which translates into millions of dollars lost to the ACT economy. Undoubtedly, this reflects aggressive marketing by other States and the emphasis of the Australian Tourism Commission on promoting other destinations.

According to the economic benefits report, the difference between the high and low scenarios for the ACT market share is about $230m in direct international visitor expenditure over the next nine years. This translates into an increased financial return of $10m per annum under the high scenario, or a potential loss of up to a total of $150m under the low scenario, for the nine years to the year 2003. What the ACT can achieve within this substantial range of outcomes will be dependent upon our marketing strategies and our drive to promote the ACT - marketing strategies which, of course, include a proactive approach to attracting international teams and Olympic competition. According to the Tourism Forecasting Council, overall international tourism to Australia will grow between 1995 and the year 2003, and the economic benefit to Canberra will depend on our ability to reverse the disappointing trend in our market share of this business.

Actively marketing Canberra's advantages in terms of hosting pre-Olympic training and the year 2000 Olympic competition is one of the more obvious strategies which would help to reset the trend in the right direction. In meetings with key sporting officials and at trade displays at major world sporting events, our efforts are directed to putting Canberra on the world map. We must use the strengths we have, in terms of environment, facilities,

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