By ERWIN CHLANDA
Why are we flying blind when it comes to tourism promotion?
For two years in a row, 2011 to 2013, Tourism NT is not providing – or does not have – information about how much holiday visitors are spending.
Yet that is the most relevant figure by which to judge the effectiveness of promotion by the Tourism NT, which costs us $50m a year, give or take a bit. Are we getting value for money?
There are two categories in the statistics provided: “All visitors” and “holiday visitors”.
All visitors, presumably, include traveling salesmen, convention junketeers, FIFO workers and family visitors who are not, or not substantially, motivated to come here by advertising and other promotion.
Three oil sheiks probably spend as much a 100 backpackers, so visitor numbers and visitor nights are close to useless. So where are the dollar figures?
In the “all visitors” category the 501,000 people coming to Central Australia (including Ayers Rock) spent $584m or $1165 each in 2012/13.
In the Alice Springs region – not including Ayers Rock – the spend per head was $701. In the absence of the actual numbers, let’s assume that the “holiday visitors” spend as much as the “all visitors” do.
The Alice Springs region in 2012/13 had 216,000 visitors, an increase of 1.2%, which represents 2592 people.
Assuming Tourism NT spends half its budget – $25m – on Central Australia, it cost us nearly $10,000 to attract each one of these additional visitors.
To gain an extra $1.8m in industry income we spent $25m. Value for money?
(We asked Tourism NT for a comment and will publish it when we get it.)
PHOTO: Image of Ellery Big Hole from Tourism NT’s new “Do the NT” campaign.
A Tourism NT spokesman replied:-
“We employ multiple sources to help gain an understanding to inform future direction / an understanding of the performance of campaigns.
“As well as using multiple sources as above – we cover off on not having specific regional visitor expenditure holiday figures given to us by Tourism Research Australia (as do all other State Tourism Organisations) by examining the Average Length of Stay against visitors which generally determines the spend insights for holiday visitors and delve deeper if any major anomalies.
“We look at total holiday visitors for the year vs spend (not just incremental new visitors on last year’s base) to determine the real cost per acquisition effectiveness considering it is mostly a unique set of new visitors to the NT every year.
“ We are continuing to work closer with the industry to not just report these numbers, but, to understand how to best influence them for positive growth and ensure we are getting information to drive opportunities for both regional and sector dispersal of visitors.”
Government tourism promotion: value for money?
By ERWIN CHLANDA