Our major focus is existing businesses transforming themselves and engaging with international students, because they are almost like a designer employee
It’s also about being the best possible place for students when they graduate to become employees, or importantly business owners and entrepreneurs. And creating more enterprise that’s relevant to key industry sectors in the Asia Pacific region. We want these international students to be those entrepreneurs and to work with their channels in terms of the investment flow that can go into those enterprises. So it’s gone from education and being a welcoming city, to a city that’s offering employment and enterprise growth opportunities for the Asia Pacific.
The PIE: Tell me more about Brisbane’s connections to Asia Pacific.
JA: The city’s constantly looking at plans to embrace socially and culturally as a stepping stone towards ensuring that the economic falls into place as well. We have the Asia Pacific City Summit, which happens every four years in Brisbane, and gets all the cities of the Asia Pacific region together to talk about growing cities. The city’s also worked on the Asia-Pacific Triennial – a contemporary arts festival that’s held every three years and is the only festival of its type that actually has a focus on contemporary art throughout the Asia Pacific region. We also are now the owner and house the Asia Pacific Screen Awards every December, which is in a way the Academy Awards of the Asia Pacific region and has an academy of 600 filmmakers throughout the Asia Pacific region.
The city’s constantly looking at plans to embrace socially and culturally as a stepping stone towards ensuring that the economic falls into place as well.
The PIE: You mentioned 80% of students are from Asia. Do you think that’s a good balance? What are the emerging markets for Brisbane?
JA: Everyone’s grandmothers’ always told them not to put their eggs in one basket, but there’s a great diversification within that 80%. And we’ve got growing markets like Colombia, Vietnam, Pakistan. We get quite a number of students from Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, which is our sister city, as well as the Emirates and Brazil. So we’ve got a pretty diversified mix. There’s a skewed 22% comes out of China, but I think that’s about right. If that increases slightly more I wouldn’t be concerned about that whatsoever.
Korea is a very important market, and Taiwan is a very traditional market to Brisbane. We would love to see Japan grow. And historically South America is very important to Australia’s history. Brisbane has links with the other resource sectors in places like Peru, Chile, Colombia and Brazil, and to a lesser degree Argentina is important to us.
The PIE: What is the biggest challenge when marketing yourselves against Sydney and Melbourne?
JA: No challenge whatsoever! Sydney and Melbourne are known as financial sectors, and Sydney’s known for its Harbour Bridge and Opera House, Melbourne for its major events, but I think you’ll find over the next ten years Brisbane will become known as the most targeted focused city towards the Asia Pacific region. And our international airport is the second busiest international airport in Australia. We’re traditionally a very strong corporate market but also we’re a gateway as well as a destination for the whole Queensland tourism trade.
Over the next ten years Brisbane will become known as the most targeted focused city towards the Asia Pacific region
But the city also offers the greatest opportunities for employment and creation of enterprise. So more and more we’ll shake ourselves around saying well it might be the place for the educators but it’s also a great place to find a job or create an enterprise.