A delegation of Canberra’s business, tourism and industry leaders have taken part in a successful trade mission to Singapore.
The three-day mission – from July 4 to 7 – involved more than 60 entrepreneurs and business people and focussed on developing new trade and investment opportunities with Singapore, with a key focus on tourism, hospitality and growing exports.
The goal of the mission – supported by the ACT Government, Canberra Business Chamber and Austrade – was to leverage networking and collaboration opportunities between the ACT and Singapore as well as strengthen business, trade and tourism relationships.
The high-level delegation was spearheaded by ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr along with senior ACT Government staff, political leaders, representatives from VisitCanberra and Canberra Business Chamber CEO Robyn Hendry.
The delegation also met with Australia’s High Commissioner in Singapore to discuss trade and export markets and held various targeted workshops and business-related seminars, including with AustCham Singapore and Enterprise Singapore.
One of the major streams of the mission focused on tourism and hospitality to promote the Canberra region as a vibrant business and leisure destination for visitors.
More than 20 local tourism operators took part including representatives from the National Zoo & Aquarium, Tidbinbilla, National Gallery of Australia (NGA), Blue Sky Adventure Tours and innovative start-up business Go Boats, based at Kingston Foreshore.
Canberra region Tourism Leaders Forum Chair David Marshall said the highly successful trade mission reinforced the strong relationships with Singapore, especially from a tourism perspective.
“It was a very worthwhile mission and a great way to re-establish contacts and reinforce the world-class tourism products we have in Canberra, especially with new [tourism] products coming on board all the time,” said Mr Marshall, who was joined by leaders from the Canberra Convention Bureau and local wineries.
The tourism operators participated in an intensive two-day workshop involving around 30 different travel agencies in Singapore. There were several presentations made by the ACT delegation to showcase the region’s newest and innovative tourism ventures.
The trip also provided opportunities to build on Canberra’s international flights with leaders from Canberra International Airport and the Chief Minister holding high-level talks.
“We now have two of the world’s best airlines flying into Canberra – Singapore Airline and Qatar Airways – we’re blessed with those connections so now we just need to work on connections via New Zealand into America and directly into China,” said Mr Marshall, who mentioned the Chief Minister was heading to Hong Kong and South Korea this week to pursue these negotiations.
Ms Hendry recently told 2CC since Canberra now has direct daily flights to Singapore, there was no better opportunity to promote the region and sell it overseas.
“We have seen Canberra’s exports increase by about eight per cent – and we have a strong market overseas,” said Ms Henry. “We’ve got to get over there [Singapore and Asia] to tell people.”
The ACT was also thanked for its strong support and engagement with Singapore as there have been several “trade missions” over the past 18 months, which is “extraordinary”, Mr Marshall said.
“That’s why the ACT has got a far greater share of the [international] business – as we’re very committed to promoting the whole Canberra region,” he said.
Meetings were also held with the arts community with several engagements occurring with Screen Canberra and the Canberra Innovation Network with similar Singapore arts-based bodies.
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