Capital to get grey nomad appeal in tourism policies

The ACT's major parties have outlined their election commitments for the city's tourism industry, including millions in extra funding for the sector and a plan to make Canberra a more attractive stop for grey nomads.

Tourism Minister Andrew Barr promised an extra $12 million if re-elected for a range of tourism events and marketing.

The Canberra Liberals promised $2 million to develop a concept for a new international-standard convention centre and to establish an independent Canberra Tourism and Marketing Agency.

The Liberals said the marketing agency would produce a strategy to bring more grey nomads to the territory.

The ACT Greens also promised $150,000 for a similar plan to increase Canberra's share of the growing market for retirees traveling Australia by caravan.

Mr Barr said ACT Labor would provide an extra $1 million a year for its "blockbuster" fund, which markets major events.

The extra $12 million for the tourism sector will also go towards the expansion of the Enlighten festival and to campaign for international flights to and from Canberra Airport.

Mr Barr promised a further $400,000 to encourage schools to visit Canberra and $400,000 for the Canberra Convention Bureau to attract more business tourists.

"Currently we attract more than 3.8 million tourists a year to Canberra," he said.

"As we enter our second century Canberra has the chance to become an even more popular destination for visitors from both Australia and overseas."

Canberra Liberals tourism spokesman Brendan Smyth said an independent Canberra tourism body would ensure tourism initiatives were "planned properly from the start".

Mr Smyth said party's plan for a new convention centre would develop the concept to the point where it could attract Commonwealth or private sector funding.

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