Tourism bonanza in final CLP year


p2363-touriam-mapBy 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.
Kay Eade
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:
p2364-dale-mciver-okMs 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.”


  1. An excellent outcome for everyone. More people got to experience the magic that Alice Springs delivers and those of us who choose to live here reaped the benefits of those experiences. Intercultural exchanges always contribute to our knowledge and awareness.
    The great work of the former CEO, Tony Mayell, is recognised and will be built further upon by his successor and the many great people who work within the Tourism NT / Tourism Central Australia agencies.
    Selling our opportunities to potential visitors is best done by the vast array of operators who are in the position to travel interstate and overseas to do so. Having had that opportunity over 12 years in the tourism sector, I can personally attest to the benefits it brings.
    Thanks to all who will continue to contribute.

  2. In 21 years of operation the 2015/16 year was by far the best for the National Road Transport Hall of Fame in all sectors of our business, in some areas by 40%.
    A turnover of $1.7m for a self funded community based museum with a staff of three is pretty amazing.
    We attribute this to many things including our volunteer workforce, our small budget marketing strategy, the trucking industry and most certainly Government marketing which increased the self drive and grey nomad sectors which are our bread and butter.
    By taking operators to prospective agents / visitors we started to get back that real characters of the Outback feel.
    It made us personalities, not just a destination, and they want to come visit.
    It is what we had lost from the Hey Hey days!
    We do the same to a much lesser degree with the trucking industry.
    I have to say we have always had a great relationship with both NT Government and Alice Springs Town Council, both of whom are very tourist orientated.
    Thank you Tony Mayell and Adam Giles, you both always gave me an ear when I wanted one.

  3. A couple of other factors are apparently related to the increase in visitor numbers last year. The low AUS$ (around 70 cents: US$) meant that international visitors got more “bang for their buck” by visiting Australia and national visits got a $1:$1 exchange.
    The number of international terror related incidents in Paris and other places around Europe last year also impacted on interstate people not wishing to venture there. They stayed in Australia where it was perceived to be safer.

  4. You are correct in mentioning this, @Phil Walcott, re the Aussie dollar and Australia being a more safe destination.
    However, the marketing done for Central Australia and the NT overall helped those visitors to choose to come here. And like @Liz Martin said below, the campaigns gave us personalities again. That’s what our visitors are looking for, not just a destination that could be anywhere in Australia – but our unique characters and lifestyle.
    The new government have big shoes to fill to keep the momentum going and the campaigns for our region appropriate and regular.
    I’m looking forward to see if they can match what has been done in the past few years, as the figures tell the full story of how well things have improved the past couple of years.

  5. Here here to all the comments above. Just for the information of your readers, destination marketing is dead.
    Today the big ticket is and really, always has been the experience: The opportunity to live a day in the life of stockman, stand on a rock at Karlu Karlu at dawn and feel the first of the suns rays on your face, sit in the dirt and talk to, or better still listen to a story teller telling their life’s story, participate in the thrill of a desert race, the dust, the stones, splash in the water flowing down an ancient river system.
    Create the experience and people will come regardless of it being an island resort, a national park, a large rock or a town like Alice.


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