By ERWIN CHLANDA
There was a massive increase in the spend by tourists in Alice Springs in the final year of the CLP Government.
In the year ending June 2016 expenditure in the town increased from $262m to $374m, and in MacDonnell from $20m to $32m.
Meanwhile in the Lasseter region, which includes the Ayers Rock Resort, takings were only a little higher than the year before, $339m up from $330m.
This is the first time since 2011 that the town out-performed The Rock.
Including MacDonnell, Alice Springs is well ahead of Peterman, $406m compared with $339m, according to Tourism Research Australia.
Chamber of Commerce CEO Kay Eade (pictured) says the strategy of Tourism NT boss Tony Mayell seems to have worked: Taking tourism operators on selling trips, “people who have the passion,” rather than bureaucrats.
Mr Mayell was sacked by the ALP Government when it took office recently.
Ms Eade says Mr Mayell also pushed the town as a convention destination. There have been more and bigger conventions, even in May which is usually a dead period. Ms Eade says the NT Conventions Bureau deserves credit for that.
“They also encouraged local businesses to plant the seed for the next convention to also be held in The Alice,” says Ms Eade.
A string of other events, including motoring and sporting, clearly also contributed.
“The town was seen as a destination in its own right, rather than a stopover to somewhere else,” she says.
The Alice Springs News Online is seeking comment from Tourism Central Australia chairwoman Dale McIver and CEO, Stephen Schwer.
UPDATE October 28:
Ms McIver (pictured) provided the following statement:-
“It’s a very positive sign to see the increase in visitor spending throughout the Central Australian Region. As we know tourism is the key industry for the region and when tourism is up, business in general is doing well.
“It’s been pleasing speaking with our members who report growth within their business and this is certainly a positive sign. The increase in major events for the town has certainly been one very positive factor and we look forward working with the new Government to ensure these are secured in the long term.”