Council candidate well placed to boost tourism


Council candidate Kylie Bonanni is a member of the Tourism NT board and says as a councillor she would be in a good position to re-direct the focus of government promotion from Darwin to Alice Springs.
She says the Town Council can be a powerful lobbyist of the government.
She thinks the Do the NT campaign is doing well, offering tailored packages (see footnote).
A third airline would be great for Alice, and attention should be shifted from the area around the casino to the centre of the town.
The $5m from the government for the Mall upgrade was a good move – and there is room for more of it.
Ms Bonanni says the town is cleaner than in the recent past, and now’s the time to increase foot traffic in the CBD, “sit outside in our perfect weather,” entice people to go out and have meals or coffee, and boost the confidence of traders some of whom are doing it tough.
Ms Bonanni’s interest in tourism started when she arrived in town as an 18-year-old. She took a hospitality course at the Gillen House tourism school and then worked at the – old – airport for several years.
She is now employed full time by the Cancer Council.
Ms Bonanni says there is little building activity but expects Kilgariff to crank up the construction industry as well as providing affordable housing.
The Stirling Heights development wasn’t much help to new home buyers as spec builders snapped up the land and turned off homes at around $700,000.
Ms Bonanni’s has more than a casual link with the building industry: her husband is a member of the big Italian family which owns the brick works.
She met him two weeks after moving to Alice with her parents from Ballarat 26 years ago. Her father was the first gold room manager at the Granites mine.
The mother of three says the mining industry, too, needs nurturing, encouraging mine workers to live here with their families, rather than running fly-in, fly-out operations.
Ms Bonanni’s two girls and one boy, all “Alice born and bred,” are aged 23, 18 and 16.
She says the skating issue has been dealt with heavy-handedly by the council.
She was in favour of the initially proposed three months trial but after hearing the presentation by Murray Stewart on Monday she now says skating should not be allowed in the CBD.
FOOTNOTE: Results from campaigns with partners selling packages promoting “Do the NT” have been positive.
• 49.5% growth in passengers booked year on year for co operative online travel agent campaign.
• 38% growth in passengers booked year on year for a co operative Qantas campaign.
• 39% growth in NT Operator TXA sales (an online booking system for Individual Operators) for October vs last year.
• Territory Discoveries has also had double digit growth since the launch of the campaign comparably to last year, another good indicator of success considering it wholesales to the bigger retailers in the market.


  1. Hi readers … sorry! The “comment off” button for this story had inadvertently been activated (probably by me!)
    Of course you’re welcome to post comments … we love them! Many thanks to Hal and Matty for pointing out this error.

  2. Seems that I remember a big mining company having the NT police on hand to escort local mine workers from the mine site as they came off shift to be replaced with fly-in workers. They were not even allowed to collect their personal belongings.
    Has this company changed its tune?
    Yes, we all think the council was over the fence on the skate board event.

  3. While it’s great to see Kylie have a strong focus on tourism I’d be more interested in hearing what she can actually bring to council. Being a member of a handpicked member of the tourist board and a mum is good but what does she want to do and achieve on council? I don’t think Alice Springs need a flag waver for the NT Government on council. We need a strong representative who is going to listen to what the town wants and act on it. We already 5 rather ineffectual local members, we don’t need one more on council.

  4. Once more there is so much blinkered thinking in the town, particularly in tourism.
    I invite the tourism bodies to visit Anzac Hill and talk to our visitors.
    I do that on a regular basis. Last night there were 74 people there and standing room only. It desperately need a seating upgrade and viewing platform with perhaps tables chairs below the platform.
    It also needs interpretive signage on the geology of the ranges. I am no expert on that, but when trying to explain it to friends recently, I accumulated an audience of around 20 people.
    I also invite the tourism bodies to Google last January’s Summer all over (ABC radio) with Trevor Chappell, where he invited comments from the travelling public on their expectations from a visitors centre. They expect clean toilets and plenty of parking, which is conspicuous by its absence in our CBD.
    I recently watched a visitor cop a parking fine for his caravan. I also invite the tourism bodies to spend time at the Welcome rock South of the town and count the numbers that stop or pass as I did several months ago.
    The old drive in screen there would have been a wonderful replacement for the long departed Panorama Guth.
    I have the numbers if anyone is interested. Then I invite them to watch the presentation on commercial TV re Mt Isa and their “Outback in Isa” and compare what we have done.
    Then visit the McLaren Vale centre in SA (I have photographs available if anyone is interested) to see how inadequate our approach to incoming travellers is.
    There are so many other areas here where the planners need to open their eyes and look around.
    Japan for instance has a senior school marathon relay over 100 km with a TV audience of over 80 million. Free publicity for us?
    Imagine Glen Helen to Anzac Hill. Where do visitors see and taste bush tucker?
    An open air art market for the community art centres opposite the Flying Doctor? Yipirinya School welcomes visitors. Why is it not promoted as such?
    The list is endless, but unfortunately when these possibilities are pointed out to politicians they are steeped in old fashioned uncreative thinking, and refuse to look at what our competition is doing.
    Unfortunately it is still true that if you want anything to happen you have to convince the pollies that it was their idea.

  5. Melanie – I don’t think anyone would ever call Kylie a “flag waver” for the NT Government.
    She has been involved in business in Alice, including owning Gifts on the Terrace a few years back, she has also been heavily involved in the Masters Games for the last number of years.
    I think her greatest asset is being able bring people together & her energy.

  6. Kylie is passionate about Alice Springs and the NT.
    She really does want to make a difference – being on tourism board, and Cancer Council puts her in the right place to help and uplift where it really matters.
    For those of you that don’t know Kylie … you have to go far to get someone so passionate about making Alice Springs the best for everyone.
    Whether you are a tourist or a resident here.
    I think having women on council would start to make a difference in town.


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