Page 2625 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 7 August 2013

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The annual figures have shown a 9.2 per cent increase in international visitors. That represents the city’s strongest year-ending March result since 2002. Critically, the Tourism Research Australia data also shows the economic impact of tourism for our city. The international visitor spend in the ACT for the year ending March 2013 was $388 million, an increase of $45 million on the previous year.

Mr Hanson: What happened after 2002?

MR BARR: Well, there was the Sydney Olympics, actually. Never mind that they were in 2000. The Sydney Olympics were in 2000, and that was the all-time peak—

Mr Smyth: That was 2000.

MR BARR: Yes, that is correct. The Sydney Olympics were in 2000, and that was the all-time peak for tourism in the territory. We are now getting back to levels—

Mr Hanson: You said since 2002.

MR BARR: Yes, this year was the largest since then—

MADAM SPEAKER: Mr Barr, what you are seeing here is what happens when you respond to interjections—you completely got off the track. Do you want to get back to answering the question.

MR BARR: Getting back to the point, Madam Speaker, $1.18 billion in total visitor spend in the ACT in this period—very strong results for the territory.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Gentleman.

MR GENTLEMAN: Minister, what plans does the government have to support the events sector in coming years?

MADAM SPEAKER: Minister, I remind you that you cannot announce new policy.

MR BARR: The government certainly plans to capitalise on this important year for our city. The 2013-14 budget delivers $11.5 million in new funding to support the territory’s tourism and events sector into the future. These initiatives will bring the total spend in this area to $27.3 million in the 2013-14 fiscal year.

Some of the support for the events sector that has been announced in the budget includes continuation of the tourism events fund, more money for the Canberra Convention Bureau, a $4.4 million funding package for them over the next four years, $3.6 million to continue and further expand the Enlighten festival, more funding for the national capital educational tourism project to support the city’s push to be the premier educational tourism destination in the country, and more support for existing and new local events that can demonstrate economic benefits by attracting more visitors to the city. We are also developing the tourism and events strategic plan for the rest of this decade, against the principles of the national tourism 2020 strategy.

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