The Tourism & Transport Forum Australia (TTF) has launched its six-point visitor economy plan to support the growth and success the Territory’s tourism and transport sectors and is calling on all political parties to embrace the agenda in their policy platforms ahead of the NT Election.
TTF’s six-point visitor economy plan calls on the next NT Government to:
1. Invest in destination marketing by permanently locking in an extra $8 million per annum for Tourism NT;
2. Attract more business events and major events to secure a greater share of this lucrative market;
3. Build the visitor infrastructure that will further unlock the Northern Territory’s tourism potential;
4. Improve transport access to and around the Northern Territory and key tourism destinations;
5. Enhance the visitor experience through better connectivity and promotion as a shopping destination; and
6. Work with the industry to secure and train the workforce of the future.
“The Territory economy is at a cross roads – the decline of manufacturing and the end of the mining investment boom means that the next NT Government needs to look to new industries like tourism and transport to fill the gap and generate the jobs of the future,” said Margy Osmond, TTF CEO.
“Home to some of the nation’s most iconic natural wonders – Uluru, Kings Canyon, Katherine Gorge, Litchfield and Kakadu – and a strong connection to the heritage and culture of Australia’s first people, the Territory has so much to offer to millions of traveling Australians and the burgeoning numbers of international visitors in our immediate region if we are willing to make the investment in the sector.
“The NT’s visitor economy performance has been strong in the domestic market but more needs to be done on attracting more international visitors. On the domestic front, 1.4 million Australians visited the Territory – up an impressive 37 per cent – and they spent $1.7 billion (up 14 per cent) in the 12 months to March 2016.
“Regrettably, the international visitor economy has seen a decline over the same period with 281,000 overseas tourists (down 3 per cent) and spending of $401 million (down 15 per cent). Nearly all other States and Territories, barring the NT and WA, have seen strong positive growth in international visitors and double digit growth in expenditure.
“The priority of the next NT Government must be to continue to build on the domestic success story while working to turn around and grow the international visitor market. Industry believes this can be done and stands ready to work with the new Territory Government to make it happen.
“The next NT Government should have the ambition to set a target for the next decade that goes beyond $2.2 billion in overnight visitor expenditure by 2020. With the strong growth in the Asia-Pacific – China alone is anticipated to have 200 million travellers heading overseas by 2020 – and their insatiable appetite for natural, cultural and heritage tourism, the Northern Territory can leverage its visitor assets with smart campaigns to drive more visitors and spending in the Territory.
“Underpinning this great potential must be a strong transport network. If visitors cannot access the attractions and experiences on offer then the visitor economy will not reach its full potential. Investing in transport infrastructure such as key tourism roads, cruise ship access, bus and rail links and attracting more aviation services to key tourist markets will ensure the overall success of the visitor economy and must be a priority for the Northern Territory Government.
“We have set out TTF’s six point plan for backing the strengths of the NT visitor economy. The next Government must invest to grow demand, boost investment in tourism and transport infrastructure, and enhance the visitor experience to ensure the Territory can remain competitive and drive further economic activity and create thousands of new jobs.”