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Tourism Advisory Forum December 6

Venue: National Convention Centre, Canberra


Andrew Barr MLA, Chief Minister of the ACT

Dr Mathew Trinca AM Director, National Museum of Australia

Brendan Smyth ACT Commissioner for International Engagement


Andrew Barr MLA - Chief Minister of the ACT

The Chief Minister acknowledged that Canberra is the most vaccinated city in the world at 98% of the population having received both doses of the vaccine. This is important from a tourism perspective as Canberra is recognised as one of the most COVID safe cities in the world both domestically and internationally. The Chief Minister argues that the ACT’s COVID response has been the most successful in the nation, and the result is there for all to see. He credits this to the territory’s highly educated and progressive population.

The Chief Minister outlined some major economic initiatives, and upcoming events in the ACT:

  • There are approximately $360 billion of cumulative savings across Australian households and business balance checks. During the lockdown savings ratio increased by 20%.

  • The ACT government is investing more than $20 million in a range of initiatives with an aim to grow expenditure. These include business financial support, investment opportunities, and industry development.

  • A major National Gallery exhibition, the ‘Ancient Greeks’ exhibition at the National Museum, and several other cultural events will increase economic activity in the ACT.

  • Summernats will go ahead. The event will be ticket based. A ‘Fringe’ festival in Braddon will occur on the same weekend and is expected to inject a combined $40 million into the local economy over the four-day period.

  • $5.5 million will be invested into the Canberra Convention Bureau. A ‘Business Event Fund’ has been created to assist the bureau in securing high profile conferences.

  • $1.4 million will be invested into the National Capital Tourism Education Project and is expected to bring 160,000 students to Canberra, generating over $130 million of local economic activity.

The Chief Minister outlined some key points regarding aviation:

  • JetStar will begin operations out of Canberra on December 17 (provided there are no changes to restrictions).

  • An aviation stimulus fund will help support recovery, re-establish some routes, and increase frequency of popular routes out of Canberra.

  • An international focus will be on New Zealand and Singapore.

  • Focussing on the supply side. Invest in skills, development, and workforce development.

The Chief Minister has introduced an ‘ACT Work Force Attraction Cooperative Branch’ program where businesses seeking particular skills can collaborate and partner with the government to attract people who have those skills into the ACT. The program offers up to $50,000 in grants and is designed to assist business to join forces on particular projects to attract the required workforce

The ACT government intend to release the ‘ACT Tourism 2030 Strategy’ next year. This will be used to drive government investment and policy decisions with an aim of getting the territory to an all-time record level of international and domestic tourism.

Short-term goals of the strategy involve getting international students back, increasing international migration, and focussing on business markets.

The Chief Minister made it clear that the ACT government will continue working cooperatively with the NSW Government and Tourism Australia.

More jobs, more visitors and a more robust future for this sector.

The Chief Minister made the following comments regarding the Omicron strain:

  • The world will know the severity of the strain within the next 7 to 10 days through laboratory testing.

  • Weather conditions are a factor, meaning booster supply in April and May is extremely important.

  • Early indications show the Omicron strain is highly contagious but has milder symptoms and disease. However, much is still unknown about the strain.


Dr Mathew Trinca AM - Director, National Museum of Australia

Dr Trinca discussed the upcoming ‘Ancient Greeks’ exhibition at the National Museum. The exhibition will showcase some of the best artefacts from the British museum and is a once in a lifetime opportunity to witness these amazing pieces of history without needing to travel. The event will be ticketed to meet COVID related requirements and begins on the 17th of December 2021 and ends on the 1st of May 2022.


Brendan Smyth - ACT Commissioner for International Engagement

2021-DEC Brendan Smyth Presentation
Download PPTX • 210KB

Brendan Smyth outlined Canberra’s 2050 vision with a goal to be recognised as one of the world’s great innovations, creative and art cities while remaining the world’s most liveable city. He provided a revised international engagement strategy and highlighted additional areas of focus. The revised ‘Canberra International Engagement Strategy’ is as follows (also refer to presentation).

Updated International Engagement Strategy:

  • Same vision for 2050

  • 10 key capability areas

  • 12 countries

  • 2 Regions

  • 41 cities

  • 12 programs

Updated Key Capability Areas:

  • Education and Research

  • Tourism

  • Defence

  • Cyber Security

  • Renewable Energy

  • ICT & e-Government

  • Space & Spatial Science

  • Health & Sport Science

  • Arts, Culture & Creativity

  • Agri Technology and Food Sciences

Updated Countries and Regions:

  • Singapore

  • New Zealand

  • China

  • USA

  • Japan

  • India

  • South Korea

  • Indonesia

  • Malaysia

  • Thailand

  • United Kingdom

  • Vietnam

  • The European Union

  • The Pacific

Updated Policies and Strategies:

  • Canberra’s International Engagement Strategy

  • Sister Cities Guidelines

  • Individual Country and Region Strategies (x14)

  • Individual City Strategy (x41)

Upcoming Trade Missions 2022:

  • February: Singapore

  • June: Japan and South Korea

Connectivity Goals:

  • Re-establish Singapore and Qatar

  • Target New Zealand, The USA, and the Pacific region

  • China

  • India

Ways in which this will be achieved:

  • A targeted program of activities to grow our international reputation and prestige.

  • Providing strategic leadership over the international inbound and outbound activities, including our city-to-city engagement.

  • Defining and implementing a targeted program of ACT Government, Ministerial and industry trade missions to priority markets.

  • Creating an inbound mission facilitation program that qualifies enquiries, proactively targets inbound opportunity, and manages program development and delivery for inbound delegation visits.

  • Building relationships and liaising with Canberra’s diplomatic community.

  • Working with the Canberra Business Chamber to connect with International Business Councils and Chambers of Commerce to utilise their networks and market knowledge.

  • Working with our Canberra Region partners to enhance export capability and capacity.

  • Reinvigorating the ACT’s formal government-to-government relationships with a view to raise awareness of the economic opportunities within Canberra’s key capability areas.

  • Making recommendations for ACT representation (either at an official level or through the Canberra business and research community) at international conferences and trade shows relevant to Canberra’s key capability areas.

  • Leading engagement with the Australian Government including Austrade and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade network to promote ACT opportunities and leverage the incentives and support that are available.

  • Ensuring that, at their core, all formal government-to-government arrangements support the growth and economic diversification of the ACT economy and align with the strategic intent of this strategy.

  • Ensuring future city-to-city relationships align with ACT Government priorities, share a common economic vision and be proactively resourced and managed to realise economic and cultural benefits for the city.


Next Tourism Advisory Forum will be in early February 2022 with a date to be confirmed.


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