ACT News

Canberra finding new ways to attract summer crowds

While hundreds of families flee Canberra for the coast or further afield over the holidays, the Davies family bucked the trend and travelled into the capital.

The National Gallery of Australia, Questacon and the National Museum of Australia are on the list of things to do for the Melbourne family, who are visiting relatives in the ACT over Christmas and the New Year.

From left, brothers Ben Davies, 11, and James Davies, 8, of Melbourne with mum Melanie Davies, clowning around with ...
From left, brothers Ben Davies, 11, and James Davies, 8, of Melbourne with mum Melanie Davies, clowning around with their reflections in the sculpture cones by Bert Flugelman at the National Gallery of Australia. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

"There's always lots of free things on; we like that it's free at the art gallery and museum, and there's lots of nice new parks to go out to," Melanie Davies said.

Family connections and the landmark tourist attractions continue to attract families like the Davies, while Summernats brings plenty of punters from interstate, but Canberra's tourism promoters are taking new approaches to encourage other visitors to the capital over summer.

The latest Visit Canberra guide for the summer promotes the city's burgeoning cafe culture and wineries around the capital, as well as nature reserves and national parks.

Meanwhile, the ACT government has heavily promoted the use of swimming spots and walking tracks around Canberra in the lead up to the summer holidays.

Cultural events, such as the Tom Roberts exhibition at the National Gallery, Cinema Under The Stars and the arrival of captured World War I German tank Mephisto at the Australian War Memorial.

Figures have not yet been released for tourist numbers over the whole of 2015, but in the 12 months up to September last year some 4.13 million people had visited the ACT, an increase on the previous year.

The number of domestic day visitors saw the highest increase on the previous year during that time, though overnight and international visitor numbers also rose.

Chinese tourists were once again the top overseas visitors to Canberra, though more Americans visited than in previous years, rising to tie with Britain in second place by representing 11 per cent of international tourists to the territory.

On the domestic front, visitors from NSW overwhelmingly make up the majority of visitors at 65 per cent, followed by Victorians at 16 per cent.