13 December 2019
A report by University of Canberra researcher, Dr Naomi Dale, shows that Canberra is a leading school excursion destination in Australia, with 164,967 interstate school visitors in 2018.
The research, titled The Size and Effect of school excursions to the National Capital, was launched at Parliament House at an Educational Tourism Summit last week by ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr MLA.
“I welcome the research report Size and Effect of School Excursions to the National Capital as it shows that Educational Tourism is a significant contributor to the ACT economy. Almost 165,000 school students travel to Canberra each year and spend on average $600 per visit, which generates approximately $130 million for the local economy in Gross State Product (GSP)” said Mr Barr.
“The ACT’s visitor economy is diverse, and Educational Tourism is an important contributor and one of the primary visitation drivers which sets Canberra apart from other destinations around Australia.”
The research involved data collection from Canberra’s national institutions and attractions, as well as conversations with teachers and coach drivers.
“Overall there has been significant growth in the number of school visitors to Canberra since the data collection began in 1997, which has increased by an impressive 63%” said Dr Dale.
“The majority of Canberra’s interstate school visitors come from NSW (50.1%), followed by Victoria (18.5%) and then South Australia (12.6%). We are finding quite high regional and rural numbers as well, with 30% of visitors from these areas.” Importantly, the data indicates learning and engagement through the experience for both students and their teachers during their National Capital visits.
Dr Dale found that, as an excursion destination, Canberra is punching above its weight for links to the curriculum, which has been noted as a high priority for schools.
“Teachers were highlighting positive links to the curriculum in the areas of civics and citizenship, Australian history and science and technology. They were also including art and culture, Indigenous culture and history, and health and sport as strengths for Canberra,” said Dr Dale.
The report showed that in comparison to other destinations, Canberra was seen as the best educational excursion destination in Australia for 10 out of 12 specific attributes, including variety of attractions, cost-effective accommodation and safety.
The 23 attractions that participate in the National Capital Educational Tourism Project collaborative marketing initiative will access the research data to design and develop their programs and exhibitions moving forward, with consideration for their school specific activities and links to the curriculum.