$12 million to support jobs and boost tourism

ACT Labor understands the importance of tourism to the Canberra economy.

The industry employs about 16,000 Canberrans, making it one of the biggest employers in the Territory, and brings in $1.3 billion to the local economy each year.

Tourism is also about sharing what is great about our city with others, and showing off why Canberra is an attractive place to visit, live, work, study and do business.

Currently we attract more than 3.8 million tourists a year to Canberra. As we enter our second century Canberra has the chance to become an even more popular destination for visitors from both Australia and overseas.

The events in the Centenary year will provide a full program of attractions for visitors and locals, and with the prospect of hosting G20 events in 2014 and attracting direct international flights, tourism is looking positive.

Events such as Enlighten and the Canberra Festival, and more blockbuster exhibitions funded by our Blockbuster Fund, will excite tourists and locals alike, and provide a unique visitor experience.

ACT Labor has a strong record of supporting the 16,000 jobs in our tourism industry.

But there is more to do.

If re-elected, ACT Labor will invest an extra $12.2 million in tourism events and marketing to attract more visitors to Canberra and to support the 16,000 Canberrans employed in the tourism industry.

ACT Labor will:

Extend the very successful blockbuster fund, committing $1 million year for 4 years to help market major events in our city

Continue and expand the Enlighten Festival, Canberra’s new Autumn Festival

Establish a new international marketing campaign to complement new direct international flights into Canberra when they begin

Provide additional funding for the National Capital Educational Tourism Project of $400,000, to encourage more schools groups to visit Canberra

Provide additional funding to the Canberra Convention Bureau of $400,000 to help encourage more business tourists to Canberra

Increase grant funding for local events which attract visitors to Canberra, through the Event Assistance Program

Policy costings

ACT Labor will deliver an additional $12.2 million over four years to progress these initiatives.  This comprises $4 million over four years for the blockbuster fund, $5.4 million over four years towards the Enlighten and Canberra Festivals, $1.80 million over four years for international marketing, $100,000 each year for both the National Capital Educational Tourism Project and Canberra Convention Bureau, and $50,000 a year for the Events Assistance Program.

ACT Labor’s plan to support jobs and boost tourism







Blockbuster fund






Enlighten / Canberra Festival






International Marketing






National Capital Educational Tourism Project






Canberra Convention Bureau





$0.40 m

Events Assistance Program












ACT Labor has already been delivering more visitors to the ACT

ACT Labor is continuing to invest in new and innovative programs that boost visitation from interstate and international visitors and support our tourism industry.

The Blockbuster Fund has helped bring some of the world’s most breathtaking works of art to Canberra.

The ACT Labor Government has teamed up with the Canberra Convention Bureau and is working with the Federal Government to bring G20 events to Canberra.

We also established the International Flights Taskforce and are currently working with airlines to establish direct flights from the expanded Canberra Airport to New Zealand and/or Singapore.

And we have seen innovative marketing programs, such as the Human Brochure social media campaign, receive national media attention and tens of thousands of interested visitors.

ACT Labor has also delivered important reforms that have allowed businesses in the tourism industry to thrive, including:

  • Cuts to payroll tax for all businesses;

  • Development and implementation of the Business Development Strategy;

  • The Red Tape Reduction Taskforce, to make it easier to do business in the ACT.


Policy Initiatives

ACT Labor will extend the very successful Blockbuster Fund, by committing $1 million a year for 4 years to help market major events in our city.

The Special Event Fund established by the ACT Labor Government has already helped bring hundreds of thousands of visitors to our city and delivered hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity and supporting jobs.

The fund has helped attract major events to Canberra, boosting our tourism industry during the quieter summer and winter months.

Masterpieces from Paris alone attracted more than 470,000 attendees, providing a $94 million boost to our local economy.  The Toulouse-Lautrec exhibition at the National Gallery is the latest event to be supported, with tickets on sale now.

A report released by the Federal Government last month, Major Blockbuster Events in the ACT, has commended the fund and its benefit in drawing economic activity into the Territory.

ACT Labor will extend this fund for another four years, providing $1 million to blockbuster events that bring visitors to our city – and also provide unique experiences for Canberra locals.


ACT Labor will invest $5.4 million for the continuation and expansion of the Enlighten Festival, Canberra’s new autumn festival.

In 2008, ACT Labor promised and has since delivered a new autumn event for Canberra – Enlighten.  Aimed at bringing visitors into the city in a previously quiet time of year, Enlighten has now run for two years and is growing to become a major event

ACT Labor believes the best tourism events for Canberra are events that also attract and entertain Canberra locals – following the successful Floriade model.  That is why, in 2011, we combined Enlighten with the Canberra Festival, to give locals and tourists a full entertainment calendar – both in the day and the evening – encouraging visitors to stay longer and spend more in our restaurants, cafes and hotels.

In 2011, Enlighten attracted 8678 visitors including 2415 from interstate or overseas.  Of those, almost two-thirds stayed for one or more nights.

In its second year, 13 of our national attractions such as The National Gallery of Australia, The National Library, The Museum of Australian Democracy and Questacon teamed with Australian Capital Tourism to become a part of the Festival, creating a diverse experience for locals and tourists and helping to create spectacular lighting displays around the lake.

ACT Labor knows that new events, such as Enlighten, take about five years to truly become a major event and generate large economic returns.  We also know that the combined Canberra Festival and Enlighten is a great event for locals and visitors alike.

That is why we are extending and expanding our commitment to Enlighten – to help it establish and grow as a major autumn festival.


ACT Labor will provide $1.8 million for the establishment of a new international marketing campaign to complement new direct international flights into Canberra when they begin.

Although business and government commuters will fill a considerable proportion of seats on future direct international flights in and out of Canberra, to make these direct links viable there needs to be patronage from tourists and the leisure market.

Our funding will promote the ACT as a great place to visit, and encourage people to take these direct flights for tourism and leisure.

Australian Capital Tourism already undertakes similar activities to other markets throughout Australia, and this commitment will allow them to tailor direct marketing towards this new audience.

ACT Labor will deliver $400,000 in additional funding for the National Capital Educational Tourism Project.

ACT Labor supports the National Capital Educational Tourism Project in their goal to make Canberra the number one destination for educational tourism in the nation.

The ACT Labor Government currently provides $200,000 a year to the Project, to help promote Canberra to schools across the nation.

But we know there are more students who could visit Canberra – helping to grow our tourism market and our economy – as well as providing more Australians with an education about the role important role Canberra plays in our nation.

ACT Labor’s commitment to an extra $100,000 a year for the Project is to allow them to promote Canberra more widely across the nation and to drive more educational tourism to Canberra.


ACT Labor will deliver $400,000 in additional funding to the Canberra Convention Bureau to help encourage more business tourists to Canberra.

ACT Labor knows how important business tourism is to the economy.  Canberra, as the seat of national government and home to large Government and private-sector institutions, provides a unique opportunity for business tourism.

In the 12 months ending June 2012, 559,000 people came to Canberra for business tourism.

The Canberra Convention Bureau works to promote Canberra to business tourists.  They help plan and facilitate events in Canberra, and work with event and convention planners to make their event in Canberra a positive and unique experience.

The ACT Labor Government currently provides more than $1 million in funding a year.

This commitment for extra funding recognises the important work the Bureau does in attracting business tourism to Canberra and supporting jobs in the tourism industry.


ACT Labor will deliver an additional $200,000 to extend the Event Assistance Program.

The Event Assistance Program supports small and medium Canberra events to promote their event to tourists through marketing grants. The grants provide support to events such as the National Folk Festival, the Kanga Cup, the Canberra and Capital Region Truffle Festival and the Fireside Festival.

ACT Labor knows providing this marketing and promotional support to smaller events is essential to growing our tourism market and encouraging repeat visitation.  An increase in the amount available for grants will mean more events can be funded, delivering a further diversity of events bringing visitors to Canberra – and supporting more jobs.