19 February 2024

Tourism, education and flights key focus for ACT trade delegation to India and Singapore

| Ian Bushnell
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Singapore Airlines plane at Canberra Airport

Will Singapore Airlines be returning to Canberra? That question will be high on the agenda when Chief Minister Andrew Barr visits the island nation. Photo: Canberra Airport.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr has left on a week-long trade trip to India and Singapore to boost tourism, attract students and establish and restore flights into Canberra.

He is leading an ACT Government trade delegation to Mumbai, Delhi and Singapore, accompanied by university, business, sporting and aviation representatives.

Four days will be spent in India – a big source of migrants, tourists and students to the ACT.

The government says India is the second biggest inbound market for international visitors to Canberra, accounting for 20,000 visitors in the year ending September 2023.

It has been the strongest international market to rebound from pre-COVID levels, at 121 per cent.

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Canberra Convention Bureau representatives will join meetings in Mumbai with tourism industry partners and Tourism Australia representatives to promote Canberra as a destination to visit and hold conferences and business events.

The delegation will also meet with Air India to develop direct flights over the coming years.

Interim Vice Chancellor of the University of Canberra Professor Lucy Johnson, senior representatives from UNSW, the Australian National University, the Australian Catholic University and CIT will meet with industry stakeholders, including IDP Education – the world’s largest overseas student placement company.

India is the ACT’s second-largest international student market.

Cricket ACT is also part of the delegation and will promote Canberra in the world’s biggest cricket market.

Aviation and tourism will be the focus in Singapore across two and a half days, with trade engagement events and the promotion of Canberra’s business events market also on the agenda.

Accompanied by representatives from Canberra Airport, the delegation will meet with Singapore Airlines to advance the prospect of re-establishing direct flights between Singapore and Canberra.

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The government says a key element to restoring direct flights between Singapore and Canberra will be growth in three large source markets: India, China and Europe. Visit Canberra is working closely with Tourism Australia and industry partners to achieve this.

A number of ACT export businesses are also travelling with the delegation.

The cost of the delegation, including two accompanying staff to India and one to Singapore, is approximately $30,000. This is met from the ACT Executive 2023-24 budget. The final cost will be reported as part of the regular travel reports.

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