It’s a novel way to save your letter of complaint and your ideas for solutions from being buried: use public question time at the Town Council meeting to read it onto the record and, who knows, capture broader attention.
Local resident Beverley Keegan (pictured on microphone at right) did just that last night, presenting her analysis of why Alice is in a slump – particularly in regards to tourism – and what could be done about it.
Mayor Damien Ryan told her council would forward the letter to Tourism Central Australia. In the meantime, we present it to our readers in full.
– Kieran Finnane
TO THE ALICE SPRINGS TOWN COUNCIL:
I would like the Town Council to approach the Central Australian Tourist Board [Tourism Central Australia] to start advertising Alice Springs and surrounding tourist spots.
There is no advertising for Alice Springs. The NT tourist board [Tourism NT] only puts adverts in from Darwin down to Tennant Creek, but totally misses out on Alice. The last one I saw showed Katherine Gorge, Kakadu, Pine Creek, Mataraka and Tennant Creek, but nothing but a DOT for Alice Springs.
Why aren’t our lovely gorges shown so everyone in Australia knows how beautiful we are?
When Wicked Kneads Coffee shop was in Coles Complex I often ate there, and if I saw visitors I always spoke to them, “Hello – how do you like Alice? How long are you stopping?” The answers were amazing.
“We’re only here for a day as we go up to Darwin by train. We stopped five days in Yulara. If we had known how pretty Alice Springs was and all the things to do here we would have stayed here longer.”
I have relatives in country Queensland and NSW and they have to use VAST Decoders [to access television via satellite]. They all get Imparja – so if we advertise Alice Springs and surrounding countryside we would hope to get more visitors.
The only place people would want to go THESE DAYS is Mount Isa or Uluru because that’s all they see on television.
And as for Yulara, they are taking away all our special things like Our Camel Cup and anyone would believe Ayers Rock is the only thing worth seeing in the southern area.
At left: The perennial image of the Red Centre. In this 45 second TV spot there is a glimpse of Alice Springs: locals will recognise the jacarandas in bloom in Todd Mall behind the dominant image of a tourist holding up a dazzling Aboriginal painting.
So, my idea is that we ramp up the advertising in our area. With Alice Springs, Western and Eastern MacDonnells and pools like Ellery Big Hole there could be an amazing amount of advertising forthcoming.
Also, I found the organisation of Yulara was superior to here.
They have organised trips to sunset with nibbles and wine. The buses picks clients up from their motel. Why couldn’t we have half day trips to places, eg The Telegraph Station, with nibbles and wine? Simpson’s Gap is another one. I’m sure that if approached the tour people could arrange it, or why not the Council? We have plenty of buses which are never used! The food they served was just cut up fruit and capsicum and carrot etc and wine.
The people on the Ghan have organised trips to the Telegraph Station for a couple of hours of the train and they give them lunch – I’ve seen them several times when walking out there.
Anyway, I get sick and tired of seeing shops close down. People lose their jobs and leave town and another shop closes down. The rents are too high and too many of our jobs are going to outside visitors.
So, I think we need more organisation, more advertising and more people coming to stay in Alice Springs.
Below: Visitors at Ellery Creek Big Hole on Easter Monday.