G20: Cultural and Economic Celebration

31 Oct 2014

From October 24 to November 16, Brisbane is welcoming G20 Cultural Celebrations - a playful and diverse demonstration of Brisbane culture. 

The G20 is a transnational summit where leaders of 20 economically advanced countries meet to strengthen international economic cooperation.

The event was suggested by the State Government who want to capitalise on Brisbane’s performance on a global stage.

There are several components of the Cultural Celebrations. There is a captivating light show which illuminates 15 buildings in Brisbane’s CBD.

Arts performances will showcase local Brisbane talent, such as live music, Latin dancing, ballet and more.  

The event was suggested by the State Government who want to capitalise on Brisbane’s performance on a global stage.

Four thousand delegates and 3000 media professionals will pour into Brisbane for the G20 next month, who will be occupying over 14,000 hotel rooms.

The influx of delegates encouraged Brisbane’s hospitality industry to give hotels an extensive (and expensive) facelift.

The G20 is an expensive venture. Overall, Australia is spending $500 million on the summit.

What is the economic benefit from the G20 and the Cultural Celebrations?

Professor John Quiggin of The University of Queensland’s School of Economics believes that in the short term, there will be significant economic benefits for Queensland in specific industries.

“The G20 will provide a short lived but substantial boost in demand for accommodation and restaurant services in the Brisbane CBD, associated with the arrival of thousands of delegates and media representatives,” Professor Quiggin said. 

The G20 has also attracted negative tourism from tightened security, limited public transport services, road blocks and other inconveniences.

Professor Ulrike Gretzel of The University of Queensland’s Business School believes that the negative social media attention generated by the G20 may be irreversibly damaging.

“The images people will post about the G20 and the social media conversations that will happen around the event will not necessarily be positive.

“Associations of #Brisbane with violence, Putin, etc. in the consumer’s mind will be hard to counter,” Professor Gretzel said.

Professor Quiggin believes that this negative coverage will inhibit economic growth for Queensland’s tourism.

“This [economic boost] will be offset by these negative effects of all other kinds of tourism – not just the difficulty of obtaining accommodation but because of the lockdown, security measures associated with the event, and perhaps with fears of terrorism,” Professor Quiggin stated.

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has a more positive outlook on the economic benefits of the G20 and the Cultural Celebrations.

“The immediate and direct economic benefits of the G20 are expected to be about $100 million for Brisbane alone,” Premier Newman said.

Premier Newman has revealed an optimistic forecast for Queensland tourism following the G20.

“The boost for transport, shops, restaurants, cafes , hotels and venues has begun and will continue long-term with international events and conferences attracting spending and investment,” Premier Newman stated.