Centenary tours justified, Archer says
Centenary of Canberra creative director Robyn Archer, with history and heritage adviser David Headon next to the grave of Walter Burley Griffin at a ceremony in Lucknow, India.
Centenary of Canberra creative director Robyn Archer says her national and international tours to promote next year's events were critical to raising awareness of the national capital's birthday and creating connections that will last for decades to come.
The trips cost almost $84,000, with the ACT government paying for half of them through its Centenary of Canberra arm.
Grants, Australian Capital Tourism, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Australian high commission in London and the Australian embassy in Washington made up the rest, a spokesman for Centenary of Canberra said.
The Centenary of Canberra's history and heritage adviser David Headon also attended the international leg of the tour, ''to extend the national and international outreach of the Centenary of Canberra to key audiences across the globe'', a statement read.
Ms Archer was away for 12 days for the national promotional tour and 27 days for the international promotional tour, while Dr Headon was overseas for 31 days.
The pair travelled a total of 68,663 kilometres for the tour, spreading the word on Canberra and the centenary year.
They addressed almost 1500 people during 14 official speeches, presentations and launches.
The international leg covered India, England and the United States.
The overseas tour cost $44,245, with $19,494 contributed by the Centenary of Canberra.
The national tour cost $38,913, with $22,4134 contributed by the Centenary of Canberra.
The costs included travel, accommodation, marketing collateral, catering, associated event costs and the delivery of brochures to all venues.
In addition, ''and at no expense to the Centenary'', Ms Archer fulfilled her role as a mentor for the European Festivals Association's Atelier, this time in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Ms Archer said the trips were about creating a buzz around the centenary and she was confident the message had been passed on to ''hundreds of thousands'' of people.
''We shipped the brochures to each place and they all took away the brochures which leads them to the website. So I think you're talking about multiples in the hundreds of thousands, that's why it works. You're only going to address 200, 300, 400 people at each session but multiple the number of people they talk to when they go online. The pure awareness factor is just massive.''
Ms Archer said her message had been greeted with ''nothing but enthusiasm''.
''I think we're in a terrific place. When I think of three years ago when it was, 'How on earth will we convince anyone of this?'. I think it's going really, really well at the moment,'' she said.
''You'll always have the naysayers but they're just in such a small minority it's better for them to have their little whinge on the side and we'll go with all the positive stuff.''
Ms Archer is also due to address 18 members of the Foreign Correspondents Association in Canberra next week on the centenary at their request.