Andrew Barr has welcomed a tourism survey that indicates Canberra recorded its highest ever number of international visitors in the year to March 2016, with almost 200,000 overseas travellers visiting the capital in that period.
In a statement, the chief minister said the international visitor survey prepared by Tourism Research Australia showed the ACT recorded its highest number of international visitors (199,771), visitor nights and expenditure.
He said the “fantastic results” reflected the government’s efforts to attract more international visitors through VisitCanberra’s One Good Thing After Another marketing positioning.
According to the survey, Canberra’s international visitor numbers increased by 12.8 per cent on 2015, above the 8.9 per cent national average, and representing the highest growth of all states and territories. Growth across the holiday, visiting friends and relatives, business and education sectors all contributed to this increase, Mr Barr said.
Visitor nights increased to 5.15 million for the year ending March 2016, representing an increase of 17.9 per cent, above the national average of 7.6 per cent.
Visitors are also staying longer, with the average length of stay growing by 4.5 per cent to 25.8 nights, bucking the national trend of a 1.2 per cent decline.
International visitor expenditure grew to $409 million, representing an increase of 13.6 percent. This is the first time international expenditure has cracked the $400 million mark and will help us achieve our goal of growing the visitor economy to $2.5 billion by 2020.
China remains the ACT’s largest international visitor market, recording an increase of 30.6 per cent, while there was strong growth also in the United Kingdom (16.8 per cent), New Zealand (16.2 per cent) and United States of America (16.1 per cent) markets.
Barr said the first direct international flights from Canberra to Wellington and Singapore from September would provide a further boost to visitor numbers.