NT tourism witnesses tough times

Published on : Thursday, September 14, 2017

NT tourismThe Northern Territory’s tourism economy will be forced into an overhaul once major projects like Inpex reduce, the Tourism NT chairman Michael Bridge said.

 
Mr. Bridge, who is also a director of Airnorth — Australia’s second oldest airline — said high airfares were just one part of the challenge ahead.

 
The cost of flying to and from the Territory has again surfaced with independent MLA Terry Mills pressing for the lifting of restrictions allowing international carriers to move passengers to domestic destinations.

 
‘This is a whole-of-economy issue,” Mr. Bridge said. “It’s not just about airfares, albeit this is what the average Territorian sees, but also the cost of accommodation and every other part of the visitor economy.

 
To quote Mr. Bridge, “The NT Government is lobbying both major carriers hard to reduce the costs of airfares, not just for Territorians but for visitors as well. We need interstate and international investment for the NT to prosper and so we need to think more widely than just airfares. If we don’t have visitors then we have a fraction of the air services and if we have a fraction of the air services, prices will stay high. Having said that, I believe once the major projects start to reduce and seats are freed up, the airlines will need to get more price conscious to ensure their aircraft remain as full as possible and so we will see a reduction in average airfares. The most important thing in the next few years, is ensuring that we replace the FIFO workforce with visitors so we keep the current capacity.

 

For that to happen we need the entire visitor economy to come on-board. From a Territorian’s perspective, we need to appreciate that to get the best deals we must plan ahead. No matter whether it’s an airfare or a room. Unfortunately sometimes that just isn’t possible; however, advance bookings and the associated discounts are becoming the norm.”

 
Tourism Top End chief executive Trevor Cox said the NT Government will need to be bolder with its commitment to a new tourism plan. “This will need to be matched with more funding,” he said. “Post Inpex the focus should settle on Darwin.

 
“Better connectivity between our key European markets and China are a must, as is flights between Darwin and Uluru. The industry will definitely be looking to government to lead.”

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