Carter / Revealed: the key to revitalising Civic

TWO industries hold the key to revitalising Civic, says futurist and economist Brian Haratsis.

And neither of them are the public service.

Catherine Carter.

Catherine Carter.

Haratsis, a strategic advisor for the property sector through his business MacroPlan Australia, was one of the speakers at the recent “Transforming Canberra’s CBD” forum, which explored breathing new life into our tired city centre.

He said Canberra could no longer rely on the public sector to drive growth and that two realms of jobs would create the best opportunities to revitalise Civic: tourism and international students.

“For every tourism job you create and for every international student job, you create three more jobs – which is why it’s so significant that Canberra gets into these export markets,” Haratsis explained.

Tourism is an “entrepreneurial and democratic sector” that creates jobs of all levels and provides many opportunities for small businesses, but “Canberra’s international tourism is not growing” and interstate visitor traffic has waned.

“We need to understand Canberra’s “tourism narrative”, Brian said. “Why do Asian tourists want to come to Canberra?

“In Melbourne, we know Chinese tourists come for the Queen Victoria Markets, Federation Square and the Crown Casino,” Haratsis said, adding that Chinese tourism was capital city-centric.

“If these tourists came to Canberra, what would they do when they got here?”

Brian encouraged the audience to “set a target” to boost tourism from 170,000 to 340,000 people a year and to consider what we’d need to do to from a “place-making perspective” to make this happen.

The other big opportunity was to capture a larger slice of the $15.6 billion international student market.

The ANU was now ranked in the top 20 institutions around the world – only four spots behind Yale.

Haratsis urged all Canberrans to consider how we could help the ANU by making our city more attractive to international students.

We have natural, cultural and educational assets that are found nowhere else in Australia. All of these are underpinned by the property sector, which provides the buildings, spaces and precincts for these activities. Let’s work together to share our story.

Catherine Carter is ACT executive director of the Property Council of Australia

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