ACT News


ACT tourism pledges

The ACT's major parties have outlined their election commitments for the city's tourism industry, promising millions in extra funding for the sector and a plan to make Canberra a more attractive stop for grey nomads.

Tourism Minister Andrew Barr pledged an extra $12 million yesterday for a range of tourism events and marketing if ACT Labor is re-elected.

The Canberra Liberals promised $2 million to develop a concept for a new international standard convention centre and to establish an independent Canberra tourism and marketing agency.

The Liberals said the marketing agency would produce a strategy to bring more grey nomads to the territory. The ACT Greens promised $150,000 for a similar plan to increase Canberra's share of the growing market for retirees travelling Australia by caravan.

The Greens also pledged $225,000 to develop a funding model for the Australia Forum national convention centre proposal for Lake Burley Griffin's west basin.

Mr Barr said ACT Labor would provide an extra $1 million a year for its ''blockbuster'' fund, which markets major events.


A portion of the extra $12 million for tourism will be spent on the expansion of the Enlighten festival and on a $1.8 million campaign for international flights to and from Canberra Airport.

Mr Barr promised a further $400,000 to encourage schools to visit Canberra and $400,000 for the Canberra Convention Bureau to attract more business tourists.

''Currently we attract more than 3.8 million tourists a year to Canberra,'' he said.

''As we enter our second century Canberra has the chance to become an even more popular destination for visitors from both Australia and overseas.''

Canberra Liberals tourism spokesman Brendan Smyth said an independent Canberra Tourism body would ensure tourism initiatives were ''planned properly from the start''. Mr Smyth said his party's plan for a new convention centre would develop the concept to the point where it could attract Commonwealth or private sector funding.

ACT Greens tourism spokesman Shane Rattenbury said the party's funding commitment for the Australia Forum would also develop the proposal to an ''investment ready'' stage.

''Canberra is going to have a massive tourist boost for our centenary year,'' he said.

''It's important that we back our industry to turn it into a long term boost for tourism in the ACT.''