The West MacDonnells should be a much greater tourism drawcard.
By ERWIN CHLANDA
The cost benefit Queensland is reaping from its government tourism promoter is more than five times greater than that of its Northern Territory counterpart.
That’s not 50% greater. It’s 500% greater.
This made it the more pathetic when Matt Conlan beat his chest last week over increases for the Territory’s industry, from a disastrous base. The following day he was he was dumped as the Minister.
The numbers also put into perspective the task now confronting Chief Minister Adam Giles who took over the portfolio: Getting some results from the bloated, underachieving Tourism NT.
Tourism NT’s budget is just under $50m. The equivalent Tourism and Events Queensland gets just under $100m.
National and international tourists spent $1,491m in the NT in the year to September. They spent $15,653m in Queensland. (Austrade, National Visitor Surveys.)
“Total international and domestic visitors to the Northern Territory spent a whopping $1.85 billion” intoned Mr Conlan.
He is $400m out, but he says it is the “biggest spend by visitors to the NT in five years” and “we have turned the ship around” for the tourism industry “which has been doing it tough for the best part of a decade”.
He is getting that right: Between 2005 and 2013, overnight visitation in Alice Springs and MacDonnell dropped from half a million to 350,000.
Most of the current increase is in the Top End where INPEX related travel no doubt plays a (temporary) role. Business travel is included in the figures. It clearly cannot be attributed to Tourism NT.
The only mention Alice Springs rates in Mr Conlan’s media release is that it is “up 4.9 per cent to 217,000, and Uluru which was up 1.3 per cent to 234,000” – remarkable only because The Rock is well ahead of The Alice and its spectacular environs.
Mr Conlan does not agree to be interviewed by the Alice Springs News Online.