Tourism in Australia is going gangbusters with 6% growth average across all states. But in the Territory it’s half that, 3%, with serious dips in the last couple of years. And will internet platforms, as they have done to print and electronic media, stand traditional government visitor promotion on its head? ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
The magnificent West MacDonnells: Central Australia's beauty spots, how do we get there and what should it cost?
We are right and our paying customer is wrong: is that, judging from the reaction to issues we raised last week relating to a tour company, the bizarre business model of our tourist industry? ERWIN CHLANDA follows up.
The coming summer will be a busy time for tourism managers in Alice Springs, says Tourism Central Australia (TCA) chairman Jeff Huyben.
Visitor numbers – as usual at that time – will be small but the government's Tourism NT (TNT), the statutory body promoting the industry with a budget of more than $40m, will be setting up its headquarters here, moving from Darwin, and Tony Mayell will take over from CEO John Fitzgerald (at left). ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
It appears NT tourism promoters have fumbled an opportunity to capitalise on free world-wide publicity for Alice Springs when Venus transited the sun today.
The American space agency NASA picked The Alice as one of two sites around the globe to record a live feed of images on the internet, motivated in part by our great weather – the sun being in clear view.
Did Tourism NT (TNT) and Tourism Central Australia (TCA) explore opportunities for hammering home, in connection with the transit, the point about The Centre's great weather?
It doesn't appear so. A major chance for "leveraging" – that favorite buzzword – has clearly been missed. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
IMAGE: The black dot is Venus. Photo by Alice Springs photographer MIKE GILLAM. See also his comment on the FULL STORY page.
Last week's Territory deputation, headed up by Tourism Minister Malarndirri McCarthy and including Alice Mayor Damien Ryan, to the Australian Tourist Commission has a familiar ring to it: If something goes wrong we run to the Feds to bail us out.
The Feds' contribution to the Territory is almost five times the national average, allowing a level of funding for our government tourism body that is the envy of its interstate peers. Yet Tourism NT's sustained underachieving is still failing to halt the industry's decline or turn it around.
Tourism Australia, Tourism NT, and Tourism Central Australia – the supposed watchdog – all seem to be the best of buddies, set to do great things real soon, dodging answers as to why these haven't been done much sooner.
Meanwhile all the NT Opposition, three months out from the election, and some four years after the Global Financial Crisis began to nudge our biggest private industry towards oblivion, still has not disclosed its policy on tourism. ERWIN CHLANDA spoke to some of the players and looked at some of the numbers. Ms McCarthy did not respond to a request for an interview. PHOTOS: The Qantas counter at the Alice airport where the airline has a monopoly. Ormiston Gorge in flood.
Wayne "Krafty" Kraft (pictured), Honourary Ambassador for Alice Springs, passionate Central Australian and mine host at the Overlanders Steakhouse has made a call to arms to the flagging tourism industry of the region.
He recalls past community efforts to promote it – and deplores the "progressive transfer of ownership away from our control.
"I am challenging us, as a vibrant and proud community to find a pathway forward so that The Alice can regain ownership of its own marketing destiny.
"Alice Springs has the product, we have the management, and with the support of the Alice Springs Town Council, members of the Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Central Australia, and the many positive residents of The Alice, we can embark on our own long term marketing strategies.
"It's NOT time for us to switch off now.
"It's NOT time for us to suggest that it's Darwin's responsibility.
"It's NOT time for us to suggest that because our business does not directly look after the visitor (tourist) market – it's not our problem or responsibility.
"NOW is the time for us to get excited about the fun and excitement we can introduce into our marketing strategies.
"NOW is the time for positive dialogue amongst our community.
"NOW is the time to support the concept for a Tourism Alice or Destination Alice or whatever "vehicle‟ our marketing strategies might be called.
"Should it be structured under the umbrella of the Alice Springs Town Council?
"Personally, I think so, but without another costly and unnecessary "mini bureaucracy‟ devoid of administration costs, full time wages, office structures and the like.
Krafty says his manifesto isn't Darwin bashing. To make this point he's brandishing a Darwin Stubby, a beer for a big thirst.