Page 3911 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 19 September 2017

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I mentioned this morning, has opened the skies, and I think there is significant potential for greater connectivity between Canberra and China.

As other speakers have mentioned, and I want to reinforce today, we are Australia’s knowledge capital. Our higher education sector is growing significantly. Our universities are attracting the best and brightest students from across the Asia-Pacific, and the ACT government is working very closely with our universities to encourage their further growth. We want them to continue to secure the best students and staff and we want those students and staff to enjoy productive careers in Canberra after their studies or contracts have ended.

Through being more internationally engaged we are creating world-leading knowledge jobs that not only attract but also keep the world’s best talent in our city. People do flock to where the best talent is and we are seeing, with our new and internationally renowned vice-chancellors at both the ANU and the University of Canberra, that talented people will follow the best. Through Study Canberra and the Canberra brand we are attracting economic growth through international student engagement.

On the topic of the CBR brand, the government continues to invest significantly in the brand which provides a cohesive and creative approach to marketing our city nationally and internationally. I can say that the brand has been a very strong platform for communication on recent international missions, including programs delivered as part of our engagement in Wellington, the Singapore investor showcase event and other international engagement opportunities. I can advise the Assembly that through the Canberra brand the Commissioner for International Engagement is bringing his usual enthusiasm and passion for raising the profile of Canberra, our knowledge economy and our broad business community with a diverse range of international markets.

Inbound tourism is a growing and priority market for the ACT and of course a major contributor to strengthening the relationship between the ACT and Singapore. We have cooperative marketing partnerships in arrangements with Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, China, India, New Zealand and the UK, all aimed at promoting the ACT as an attractive international tourism destination. Working in these cooperative marketing partnerships enables the ACT government to work with overseas travel wholesalers and key distribution partners to promote Canberra and the region as an attractive international tourism destination. And the recent tourism data, I think, is reinforcing this effort.

For the year ending June 2017, international visitors reached over 220,000, a nine per cent increase on the year before. Visitor expenditure increased 27 per cent, well above the national average. Business travel was up. Visitor nights for business travel increased 136 per cent over the same period last year, with an average length of 15 days, representing an increase there of around 130 per cent.

As you can see from this very impressive data, we are achieving the outcomes we are striving for, but we recognise the continued importance of international engagement to support economic growth and job growth in Canberra. Our long-term strategies are

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