But The Rock remains far ahead of Alice Springs and MacDonnell combined, as fresh Tourism Research Australia statistics show. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Photo: Part of the crowd at the A cappella in the Gorge, at Ormiston this year. Many came from interstate and overseas.
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.