In the coming days, ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr will be meeting with senior Ministers in New Zealand and tourism and aviation industry representatives in Wellington and Auckland to discuss a range of visitor economy issues, including international flights from Canberra airport.
The Chief Minister said "New Zealand visitors are the highest contributor to Australia’s tourism industry in annual visits, however the country ranks as number five in the ACT’s own tourist numbers due to lack of direct flights."
"Direct flights from New Zealand present a great opportunity to boost our tourism economy. The move would also provide travellers from the Canberra region with a gateway to access New Zealand in a significantly shorter time.'
"The $480 million investment by the Canberra Airport means that we now have a world class aviation facility capable of handling international flights. Attracting new air services will help grow the ACT and regional economy, creating hundreds of new jobs. In the next few days, I will be discussing the ACT Government’s willingness to pursue direct flight services as part of our 2020 Tourism strategy. This will help achieve our goal to grow the value of overnight visitor expenditure into the ACT to $2.5 billion by 2020."
Also on the agenda this week is a meeting with Wellington City Council, Grow Wellington and Positively Wellington Tourism. Discussions will include:
- respective tourism strategies;
- city branding;
- infrastructure development, specifically transportation systems;
- innovation ecosystems; and
- closer economic cooperation between the respective capitals of Wellington and Canberra.
"On Friday, I will be participating in the Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum in Auckland, where key representatives from the trans-Tasman nations will discuss the strengthening ties in a variety of industries. I will also be visiting Christchurch to view the implementation of their urban renewal agenda in the wake of the devastating earthquakes that destroyed the city in 2010 and 2011."