Page 3260 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 17 September 2013

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of as a city, because not only are we reducing our greenhouse gas emissions; we are bringing over $100 million worth of investment into our local economy and we are creating over a hundred jobs through these projects.

Tourism—visitor numbers

MS BERRY: My question is to the Minister for Economic Development. Can the minister update the Assembly on any recent data on the number of visitors to the ACT and also advise the ACT government’s initiatives that are being undertaken to help support and grow the ACT tourism sector?

MR BARR: I thank Ms Berry for the question. I am pleased to report that the ACT has fared very well in the most recent surveys of national and international visitors. The number of international visitors who came to the ACT in the 2012-13 fiscal year was the city’s highest year-ending June total reported since the Olympic year—180,380 visitors in this fiscal year. During the first six months of Canberra’s centenary year, international visitor numbers increased by 22.9 per cent, compared with the same period last year. The ACT performed strongly in the number of visitors coming for leisure purposes, with international holiday visitation rising by 10.3 per cent, and those visiting friends and relatives increasing by 7.9 per cent.

The top five international travel markets to the ACT in the year ending June 2013 were China, which accounted for 12.3 per cent of international visitors; the United States, 11.2 per cent; Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Hong Kong, 10.7 per cent; the United Kingdom, 9.8 per cent; and New Zealand, 7.3 per cent.

The ACT also recorded a very strong result for domestic visitors. The amount of domestic overnight visitor expenditure in the ACT economy increased by $159 million in the 2012-13 fiscal year, and domestic visitor nights in the ACT were also at their highest year-ending levels since 2000.

The increase in visitor numbers has been generated by investment in major events and investment in interstate marketing programs that have provided compelling reasons to visit Canberra in our centenary year. These figures are likely to grow, with more great events on offer through the duration of 2013. A strong program of events and activities is vital to encouraging people to visit, and the ACT government is proud to support numerous events occurring across the territory this year.

Floriade is now underway and runs until 13 October, with NightFest running from 25 to 29 September. The theme for Floriade this year is beautiful innovation. The flower bed designs reflect the Canberra plan and the national institutions. There are a million flowers throughout Commonwealth Park in 12 designed garden beds, showcase gardens and other dedicated planted areas.

This year Floriade NightFest will again feature state of the art lighting effects both inside and outside the garden beds. There will also be an immersive lighting experience that audiences can walk through and be entertained in at the rhododendron gardens and at Nerang pool.

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