The G20: A bonanza for tourism?

I was contacted by a journalism student here who would some commentary on the rosy projections being made about how the G20 meetings will put Brisbane on the world tourism map, assisted by such initiatives as a month of cultural celebrations (beginning tomorrow) along with “Team Brisbane” and “Global Cafe”. I offered the following response

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. This will be offset by a negative effect on all other kinds of tourism, not only because of the difficulty of obtaining accommodation but because of the lockdown and other security measures associated with the event, and perhaps with fears of terrorism.

Longer-term effects on tourism, economic growth, and so on will be negligible. International news coverage of G20 will focus on staged events in the CBD, such as media conferences, held in settings indistinguishable from those of any other CBD. Viewers will scarcely be aware that the event is being held in Brisbane, let alone that there are associated cultural celebrations or that Brisbane is a desirable place to visit. A Google search on “G20 cultural celebrations” reveals zero coverage outside (greater) Brisbane, even though the event is starting today.

As regards “Team Brisbane” and “Global Cafe”, I was entirely unaware of these marketing efforts. I suspect that I am typical of the world’s population in this respect.

26 thoughts on “The G20: A bonanza for tourism?

  1. Until reading your blog post just then, I hadn’t heard or read of “Team Brisbane” or “Global Cafe”. Perhaps if they called it “Team Brizzy”, it would have had that cheap pastiche of Aussie lingo, and the traditional bush telephone would have seen to it becoming well known…eventually. Strewth!

    I just can’t get motivated to join up with this Team theme.

  2. A couple of points.

    1. How can anyone, like Tony Abbott or Campbell Newman, be unaware that the phrase “Team X”, where X is a country or state, is completely satirical? This follows on at least from the film, “Team America” in 2004. Abbott and Newman are their own satire: living expressions of Poe’s Law.

    2. Tourism, in my book, is not an industry. Industries grow things, make things or provide essential services. Tourism is largely the encouragement of excess, non-essential consumption and the over-production of luxuries while poorer people still lack necessities. Tourism is an indulgence not an industry.

    For the world, tourism is a zero sum game. Indeed, it is a negative sum game involving the squandering of valuable resources which could be better used for other purposes. Tourism does immense ecological damage. The world would benefit if people, including me, “stayed at home” more.

    At the same time, one can scarcely ban or actively discourage tourism. The correct approach is to remove ALL government promotion and subsidies for tourism and allow the market to determine the levels. This reasoning applies to all luxury goods and services and is of course the necessary reverse of providing public assistance for genuine public goods like health, welfare and education.

  3. I HAD heard of “Global Café” at G20, but I couldn’t remember where.

    Then I found it (H/T to one of the regulars here from about a week ago??). It was an article by Graham Readfearn in the UK Guardian – why not the Australian Guardian is anyone’s guess – about Big Coal PR at the G20: “How big coal is lobbying G20 leaders and trying to capture the global poverty debate”

    He noted:

    But back to Brisbane (my home as it happens) where the city’s public relations arm – Brisbane Marketing – is preparing to host a series of “Global Cafe” talkfests as side-events to the G20.

    Peabody Energy is sole main sponsor of one of the five Global Cafe “themes” titled “Powering Future Economies – Energy”.

    Brisbane Marketing lists the British Broadcasting Corporation as a media partner for the coal-sponsored event.

    Peabody has also issued a video to promote a campaign it has dubbed “Lights On” which highlights the G20 meeting and asks for support to “urge world leaders to turn the lights on”.

    “Turn The Lights On” feels a lot like the ‘antidote’ to “Earth Hour”.

    The infamous Burson-Marsteller is a lobbyist for Peabody (as well as previously working for Big Tabacco, they handled the PR for one of the world’s worst industrial disasters – the 1984 Union Carbide gas leak in Bhopal, India, that killed an estimated 20,000 people and affected more than half a million others).

  4. Is Team Brisbane in competition with Team Australia? Shades of Bjelke-Petersen. And I wonder how the rest of Queensland feels about the focus on Brisbane, given any increase in tourism there is likely to be partly at the expense of other, more tourist-dependent parts of the state.

  5. ‘Global cafe’ reminded me of “World Cafe” which I heard of a few years back and submitted to weaselwords. To my joy Don Watson included the offering in Bendable Learnings.

    Through the wonders of the email database I have just retrieved this motherload of crap for your pleasure/chunder.

    What I have yet to figure out is whether people who use these.

    The Learning Journey

    Over the two days delegates will be actively engaged through a blend of thought provoking keynotes, panel-based question and answers sessions, deliberative dialogues, Stories of Sustainability from Councils, a project marketplace, a reflection wall and skills workshops. All sessions will be facilitated with a strong emphasis on allowing diverse voices to emerge from the group.

    At the very core of the learning design that underpins the program is the acknowledgement and belief that the Symposium will bring a group of capable, knowledgeable, experienced and passionate leaders and practitioners from Local Government across NSW. It utilises adult learning principles and positions delegates as active participants there to share, experience and reflect – not just to learn.

    The structure of the Symposium models a deliberative learning process. Each day will explore a central theme that will be developed through each subsequent session.

    Initially, keynotes by thought leaders will set the problem context for the day and this will then be questioned and further clarified by high level panelists. A facilitator will draw questions from the delegates and build a discussion around key themes.

    Delegates will then engage with each other through deliberative dialogues using a World Café structure to explore the implications and priorities for Councils given the challenges outlined in the prior session. Through table facilitators, the deliberative dialogues will generate a series of outputs that document the key priorities and directions for integrating sustainability.

    After lunch on Day 1, delegates will then be able to explore a range of experiences from Councils through presentations that explore their Stories of Sustainability with an aim to share experience, reflections and learning with Councils in the same sustainability space. These presentations will provide an opportunity for discussion with delegates that may flow into afternoon tea and even the Cocktail Reception!

    Day 1 will conclude with a series of closing reflections from delegates and an address from one of Australia’s great social commentators and comedians, before inviting all delegates to drinks and refreshments overlooking Sydney Harbour and the Ferris Wheel. The Ferris Wheel will provide an opportunity exclusively for delegates to get a better Harbour view, conquer their fear of heights, and reflect on the day!

    As with Day 1, Day 2 will commence with keynotes by thought leaders to set the problem context and set up the framework to explore the second theme of the Symposium.

    After morning tea, delegates will be able to select a concurrent in-depth panel session that tackles a range of challenging practice areas: strategic action planning, engagement and participation, education, monitoring and evaluation, and dissemination. These sessions will draw on presenters from a range of experiences, including local government, to clarify the challenges through facilitated discussion with delegates. These sessions will spark lively discussion and exchange that may continue into the Project Marketplace.

    The Project Marketplace is an opportunity to continue conversations that have emerged through the Symposium and to spark up new ones. Councils from across NSW will present posters from various sustainability projects that have recently completed or are currently undertaking. This will provide a great opportunity to meet various practitioners from Councils that are working with similar challenges and approaches. Delegates will then continue these conversations into Lunch.

    After Lunch, Delegates will be able to select a concurrent skills workshop that explores specific tools and processes for integrated sustainability. Delegates will be engaged in small group workshops to consider how each tool will support and potentially expand their capacity to develop and integrated approach.

    The Symposium will wrap up with a closing plenary session that enables delegates to feedback and reflect on various themes and sessions.


  6. It continues to be my view that much trouble and expense could be avoided by holding the event at Kooralbyn, where the main security concern would involve unfenced cattle, rather than disrupting the daylights out of metropolitan Brisbane.

  7. @Paul Norton

    Brilliant! The whole place is bankrupt and essentially a ghost-town. And they have an airstrip – of sorts.

    They could hold sessions in the multi-failed, frequently bankrupt, privatized Kooralbyn international school to discuss “The Failure of Neo-Liberalism”.

  8. You got it in one with the negative offset. I was supposed to fly in to Brisbane from Europe exactly that weekend, as a stop over on the way to the less well served FNQ. Normally I would stay a couple days to get over the jetlag, catch up with friends etc. All the hotels were booked out, warnings of undefined delays to public transport, vague threats of security measures… Well, I’ve never been to Melbourne, so I’m overflying. Costs the same at this distance and I’ve never been. Brisbane’s loss, it doesn’t have a monopoly as a gateway.

    Global Cafe? Team Brisbane? What are they on about…?

  9. The Global Cafe seems to just be some sort of conference with talks open to the public on G20 sort of themes. There’s one on future cities – which does mention the need for carbon reductions in future city planning — however there is also one on Economics and Energy which looks at energy and resources and only asks minimal questions on sustainability and RET while being pro-nuclear and wanting us to have to store other countries nuclear waste :/ “Is Australia like a “vegan working in an abattoir” by being the world’s third largest exporter of Uranium while prohibiting the use of nuclear power on its own soil? Is nuclear power a solution for Australia? Is there an opportunity or even a moral obligation to store spent fissile material in Australia?”

    The Global Cafe doesn’t seem to be like the World Cafe method – which is more just a method for eliciting public participation.

    On Team Brisbane, since H.M the Queen made her first tweet I followed the monarchy on twitter and as a result found out that 2014 has been the year of “Team Commonwealth”. Although the Royal Commonwealth just has 1/3 of the world’s population this is at least more inclusive than “Team Brisbane” and “Team Australia”.

    Maybe the UN can make 2015 the year of “Team Planet Earth” – this would be fitting in the run up to the Climate Change negotiations in Paris in December 2015.

  10. Seriously.. they adopt Abbott’s stupid rhetoric to come up with “Team Brisbane” and then wonder why it is completely obscure…. after Abbott made Team Australia an international laughing stock…

  11. Before the guffawas get too loud, and you chant too loudly “Gee, that Abbott shore is stoopid to come up with team Australia, & Team Brisbane sucks heavily” it would be wise to keep in mind that for years there was continual mention of “Team Beattie”.

    Unless you are able to link to your endless condemnation of Beattie as stupid, better to not make too much more fools of yourselves.

  12. @Charlene MacDonald

    1. Links get me sent to eternal moderation for some reason. Search “springhillvoice” + “Beattie” for about five pages of results of condemnation of Beattie.

    2. Condemning him for being a fascist, neo-liberal, anti-democratic, anti-worker, quasi dictator etc… yes. For being “stupid”? No.

  13. @Megan
    Needless effort. You weren’t sneering at “Team Brisbane”. Thus no need to link all your condemnations of “Team Beattie”. Cheers!

  14. @ZM
    ZM if you go to my blog (linked via my name above) and scroll through the entry for 22 September this year, you will see some nice “Team Earth” posters. I took the photo (with permission) at the “March in August”.

    (I won’t put links because it gets me into moderation)

  15. @Charlene MacDonald

    You seem to be a very confused person who has a chip on her shoulder about somethings that you apparently blame on Teh Left but I wonder, just as a useful exercise that will assist you to gain some insights into your own attitudes, if you can coherently explain what you think Teh Left is all about.

    I doubt that you have any rational understanding of the things that you are so emotional about and that create in you an overwhelming desire to respond with emotional and mistaken accusations here that you think are damaging to your imaginary enemies.

    Really, if you read more widely about the problems that people all over the world are worrying about, you might be able to understand that there are good people in the world and that not everyone chooses to be selfish and greedy and only concerned with their own self-advancement.

    Do you not see that there is a big difference between the low-key way that Team Beattie used the term and the way the term is being used by Team Abbott? Although, based on their recent behaviour, one needs to ask if Team Abbott is a team or is it a loose collection of individuals all with their own selfish agenda of self advancement?

    I also wonder about your inconsistent expectations; apparently it is fine for you to post an unsupported claim about some behaviour of Gough Whitlam in another thread, but then you seem to think it is fine for you to demand links from Megan.

    Last question; have you heard of Motivated Cognition? I suggest that if you want to feel happier it would be a good idea for you to understand that selfishness, greed and profit as God, are not the natural way for humans to behave toward each other and do not lead to productive and wealthy – there are many ways to be wealthy – societies.

  16. @Charlene MacDonald

    I have no memory at all of “Team Beattie”, but Google reveals that it was, as you say, a thing. As I demonstrated by forgetting it, “Team X” was already a forgettable cliche ten years before “Team Brisbane” and “Team Australia”. The Simpsons were mocking it long before that

    How you imagine this makes the latest outing of this tired stuff less risible is beyond me.

  17. The Simpsons take on the “Team” theme, is the one that is most salient to my 20 something son and the other young people I know. They think it is hilarious and very very ‘sad’.

  18. @Charlene MacDonald
    I have no memory at all of “Team Beattie”,

    It is likely there are many things you are unable to recall. Those who keep diaries will verify there is often a significant discrepancy between their later recollections and their contempraneous written account.

    How you imagine this makes the latest outing of this tired stuff less risible is beyond me.

    I don’t imagine any such thing. I said(wrote) no such thing.
    I merely pointed out that any who are jeering at “Team Brisbane” or “Team whatever” are hypocrites unless they likewise jeererd at “Team Beattie”.

    The context Beattie used it in was far more comical than the current “Team X” are being used in.

  19. Julie Thomas, I’ll take your disjointed and irrelevant rant as evidence you are smarting under having been caught out.

    I’ve not made any comment about “teh left” “teh right” “teh up” or “teh down”. Nor am I interested in doing so. Certainly I don’t take orders from you. Back in your box.

  20. @Charlene MacDonald

    What are you doing here Charlene? You just don’t like Gough and want that known?

    I’ll try to me more coherent for you this time because I suspect that there may be some knowledge about the way humans remember things and the unreliability of diary entries that you should understand.

    If you had taken advantage of the resources provided by the ABC, particularly the Science and Philosophy programs on RN, you would know these things and you would know that motivated cognition is another of the recent ‘discoveries’ in psychology that does explain a lot of irrational thinking that appears rational to the person doing the thinking.

    Interesting that you interpreted my musings that were meant to be helpful as an irrelevant rant; I can understand that this would be the case for some people, and I do apologise for assuming that you would be the sort of person who refers to people they don’t like as “Teh Left”. The tendency to stereotype people is another of the things that people do, because in some cases it is advantageous and you have caught me out there stereotyping you.

    Is that what you meant about me being caught out?

    And why would you imagine that I was giving you orders? Do people always give you orders?

    And what box? What does that even mean?

    So many questions so few answers.

  21. @Charlene MacDonald

    You must be more careful yourself if you want to mock “typos”. I refer to your “contempraneous”.

    I made the point that using “Team X” where X was the name of a nation or state was to run the risk of self-satire, at least since the movie “Team America”. J.Q. and Julie have shown the same is the case if X is a person’s name.

    It’s obvious you are trolling. I suspect you are a sock puppet in this current guise though I guess J.Q. will be able to tell for sure. I even have suspicions, due to certain idiomatic and chauvinistic patterns, that your current nom de plume might not match your gender. For example, I have never heard a female tell any person, let alone another female, to get “back in your box”. I have heard several chauvinistic males use that construction, usually directed at females present or absent.

    “Get back into your box” means the same as “Get back into your kennel.” so directing it at a female is particularly unpleasant but I reckon you knew that.

  22. Hehe, Patrickb, you only get out of jail on this if you had plenty to say at the time!
    There was of course, also a “Team Rudd”.

    Julie Thomas, you’re not getting any better. I’ve had to deal with your type before, there’s one, or more, in every street march.

    Ikonoclast: Mine wasn’t a typo (accidental use of the wrong key) but a spelling error. Feel free to mock it aplenty.
    From you final 3 paragraphs I’ll take it that I’ve someone skewered you on something for which you have no answer. Thank you.
    What you’ve done is a standard trick used in union meetings when on the back foot. Start jeering at the person who’s got you on the ropes. Or if female, insinuate the female is butch or manly by hinting at manly features, or in this case, manly language. Some words are not used by females, give us a break!

    If remarks aimed at my sex are an attempt to get photos of me, especially ones that prove I’m female by indisputable anatomical features, you are not the first to try it. Nor will you succeed. Not even a good try by the way.

  23. @Charlene MacDonald

    I suspect that when dealing with the other people you assumed were my type, you were just as inept, inappropriate and a bit funny – as in strange not amusing as you are being here. I would be interested if you could you expand on ‘the type’ you see me as being. I also think there are types of people.

    Not here though; did you notice that Professor Quiggin has provided a sandpit this is where to post your comments if you would like to discuss off topic things or the on topic things in a snide and with the self-referential style you use to communicate your …. what?

    What are you wanting to communicate I wonder; it is a different thing to what you are communicating.

    Do you go to lots of street marches Darlene? Tell me about your experiences in the sandpit please.

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