Fresh coronavirus restrictions on Friday afternoon all but sabotaged the morning launch of Canberra's new domestic tourism campaign.
The Cultural Icons tourism campaign will continue for some time after the new restrictions that bar Sydney residents from entering the ACT. It may be the beginning of a more permanent collaboration between the 12 institutions to attract visitors to the national capital, suggested Matt Trinca from the National Museum of Australia.
"We all need to own this idea of Canberra as a cultural capital: unashamedly, proudly, with confidence and express it as the great calling card of this city," Mr Trinca said.
However, the stay-at-home order for parts of Sydney coinciding with the beginning of school holidays in the ACT and NSW next week had an immediate impact on the local tourism industry the campaign was intended to bolster.
Anthony Brierley from the Australian Hotels Association said the industry understood the need to keep the ACT safe, but it came at a significant cost.
"Cancellations have gone through the roof in the past couple of hours. It is part of the cost of keeping the ACT safe," he said.
"This is not our first rodeo. The feeling is that Sydney needs to get this situation under control as quickly as possible. We can't afford any cases in the ACT.
"It is frustrating that the accommodation and food services still has to go through this [15 months into the pandemic]. It's important that as many people get vaccinated as possible."
Before the news of the restrictions or soaring new COVID cases in Sydney hotspots, the heads of 12 cultural and national institutions gathered at Canberra Airport to launch the Cultural Icons campaign with the tagline "Made of Australia".
The campaign was funded in part by the ACT government's tourism marketing fund and by the National Archives, Royal Australian Mint, Questacon, Australian War Memorial, Department of Parliamentary Services, Museum of Australian Democracy, National Capital Authority, National Film and Sound Archives, National Museum, National Gallery, National Library and the National Portrait Gallery.
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