Some operators are not pulling their weight in Tourism NT's quest to end the 10 year slump. ERWIN CHLANDA speaks with Tony Mayell, the CEO of the government promotion body, in the first of a series of reports about the industry that stands between Alice as a private enterprise centre, and a welfare town.
PHOTO: Business event planners from around Australia taking part in a mini Henley on Todd organised by Rotary competing in bottomless boats against the Drum Atweme kids on a glorious winter's day at the famous Telegraph Station. (Redacted.)
“China will definitely be a key tourism destination for Australia and The Northern Territory for many years to come," says Michael Bridge, named by Chief Minister Terry Mills as the chairman of the yet to be formed NT tourist commission. "Tourism NT will be ensuring that every effort is made to entice those tourists to the NT."
Central Australia is on the outer in the quest for more tourists from China, according to Alice Springs businessman Steve Strike, who's been running a promotional office in Guangzhou for nearly three years.
He says there is clearly a confidential agreement, which is reciprocal, between Australia and China to ensure visitors return and are not given asylum if applied for. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Photo: Mr Strike as the guest on a TV program about photography in Qinghai, North-Western China. Mr Strike was showing photographs of Central Australia.
But Alice could sell itself better: A third of visitors would have extended their stay had they been aware of the range of things to see and do.
Anzac Hill at sunset: 57% of visitors to Central Australia make Anzac Hill part of their experience.
Why do visitors want to come to Central Australia? The main reason is that it is seen as an iconic Australian destination and it is made so by its natural attractions. This is the case for the majority of the region's international and domestic visitors. And nature delivers, exceeding expectations for both categories.
The questions are fundamental and the answers clear in the Central Australia Visitor Profile and Satisfaction (VPS) project, undertaken by Tourism Research Australia in partnership with Tourism NT, with its most recent survey conducted in two waves in May and August 2011, to capture both shoulder and peak season visitors.
The local debate is very attuned to international perceptions and responses, but the majority of our visitors – 75% – continue to be domestic, who are more likely to have other reasons as well for visiting.
It's interesting to see what counts as a 'natural' experience. In Alice it's a visit to Anzac Hill – 57% of visitors to Central Australia do that. That's more than visit Watarrka (Kings Canyon) – 47% – but fewer than visit Uluru (Ayers Rock) – 76%. KIERAN FINNANE reports.