Chief Minister Andrew Barr left Canberra this morning on an eight-day trade mission to the United States, focusing on aviation, tourism, investment, medical research and economic development.
A key part of the visit will be to put the case for flight connections between Canberra and US, including New York and Dallas.
Mr Barr is leading the mission accompanied by Commissioner for International Engagement Brendan Smyth and officials from Visit Canberra and the Australian National University.
He said in a statement that the goal of the mission was to further develop the ACT’s position as a desirable location for US tourists, a safe place to invest, a leader in innovation, and Australia’s knowledge and research capital.
The United States was the ACT’s third largest inbound international tourism market, including government, defence, business, education and leisure travel.
“Following the successful commencement of twice weekly direct Fiji Airways services to Canberra in July, there is potential to grow these services further,” he said.
“From October, a third weekly flight has been scheduled, adding nearly 9000 additional inbound seats per year.
“Canberrans also benefit from more direct services with travel to multiple US destinations possible without having to fly via Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane.”
Mr Barr said the government, in partnership with Tourism Australia, Fiji Airways and Visit Canberra, wanted to further grow demand out of the US to Canberra.
“This significantly enhances the prospect of additional flights being added to Fiji Airways weekly schedule between Canberra and Nadi,” he said.
The government also wanted to enhance flight connections with the US east coast and south through one-stop transits between Canberra and New York (via Auckland) and Canberra and Dallas.
Mr Barr said the US was one of the ACT’s strongest international partners and Australia’s largest economic partner.
The nation was identified as a key market in the ACT Government’s International Engagement Strategy and T2030: ACT Tourism Strategy 2023-2030.
The trade mission will visit Los Angeles, New York and Washington DC.
Mr Barr will meet with Australian Ambassador Kevin Rudd, senior Austrade and DFAT executives, Tourism Australia, Fiji Airways, US travel agents, US investors, US Government officials, the President of the American Australian Association, medical research companies and several cultural and live performance venues.
The estimated cost of the Chief Minister’s delegation is around $55,000, subject to fluctuations in the exchange rate.