Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 22 March 2017) . . Page.. 877 ..
MR BARR: I thank Ms Cheyne for the question. Yes, it is true that we have hosted a range of fantastic events in our city in recent months, and those events continue through the autumn period. We have a bold and diverse events portfolio that attracts people to our city all year round but, importantly, also provides opportunities for 400,000 Canberrans to enjoy the diverse range of experiences that come from living in this the best city in the world.
The ACT government is committed to building Canberra’s events calendar and we want to continue our global recognition as a leading events destination. This is largely underpinned by providing high quality events that occur year round, taking advantage of our city’s four distinct seasons. We want events that reflect, engage, benefit and bind the diverse communities represented in our city, and we look for events that drive economic growth by increasing the number of event-based visitors.
Canberrans themselves strongly recognise the importance of investing in the events sector. Community surveys show consistently high levels of support for government involvement in events, with the most recent data available to the government showing that 87 per cent of Canberrans support ACT government involvement in attracting and securing events. Events bring life, colour and vitality to our region, shape public perceptions of our city locally, nationally and internationally, and provide an opportunity for us to share the very best of ourselves and our city with the rest of the nation and the world. There are many positive benefits that events bring to the ACT economy through tourism and associated visitor spending, as well as a range of tangible infrastructure legacy outcomes for the city.
MS CHEYNE: Chief Minister, what effect do these events have on the Canberra tourism sector?
MR BARR: A very positive impact. A diverse, high quality calendar of events enhances the profile of the city and gives us an opportunity to target particularly interstate marketing promotion. There is no doubt that the major events that we held during our city’s centenary year in 2013 built a great opportunity, particularly on the infrastructure side, and the momentum from that year has continued to build. Supporting events as a key driver of the visitor economy is certainly one key area in realising our city’s tourism potential.
The territory’s 2020 tourism strategy aims to grow the value of overnight visitor expenditure to $2.5 billion by 2020, and for the year ending September 2016 Canberra welcomed 2.35 million interstate overnight visitors. This was up 10.5 per cent on the previous year. Once again, we have attracted a record number of international visitors with more than 207,000 visiting Canberra for the year ending December 2016. Our international visitor expenditure grew to a new record of $452.2 million, representing an increase of nearly 15 per cent on the previous year, and that was well above the national average growth of around seven per cent.
These fantastic results will drive further private investment in the tourism sector and allow us to continue to attract world-class exhibitions, partnerships and major events into the future.