Territory Stories

Annual Report 2016-2017 Tourism NT



Annual Report 2016-2017 Tourism NT

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Tabled paper 571


Tabled Papers for 13th Assembly 2016 - 2020; Tabled Papers; ParliamentNT






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34 35 Our Performance03 Tourism NT Annual Report 2016-17 Tourism NT Annual Report 2016-17 S T R AT E GY Ensure visitor needs for access are considered in transport planning, including for roads, public transport and cruise ship facilities. ROADS We continued to advocate road priorities as effective access is critically important for regional dispersal of tourists. We submitted bids to improve access to key sites within Kakadu National Park including year-round access to Gunlom Falls and upgrades to the Jim Jim Falls Road, in addition to sealing the road to Ellery Creek Big Hole in the West MacDonnell Ranges. We continued to work on projects already underway such as sealing the northern access into Litchfield National Park, providing 2WD access via the Litchfield Loop and the Alice Springs Flood Mitigation project including Sadadeen Connector Road. In May, the project to seal 43km of dirt road in the West MacDonnell Ranges was complete, with two and four wheel drive vehicles now having access to the Inner (Mereenie) Loop throughout the year. The opportunity for tourism in the region, including self-drive and guided tours, is now significantly increased as the area was previously inaccessible in wet season conditions. Additionally, we consulted with local government across the Territory to improve visitor signage along the Explorers Way, in line with new technological advances in wayfinding. S T R AT E GY Support the growth of sustainable aviation services to the Territory. AVIATION DEVELOPMENT We continued working on business cases and proposals for route development and to expand services to the Territory, partnering with NT Airports where appropriate. Cooperative marketing activities with Silk Air/ Singapore Airlines, Philippine Airlines, Jetstar Asia, Indonesia Air Asia, Malaysia Airlines and Jetstar Airways supported this work. Some highlights include: Meetings with airlines internationally and in Sydney, with a priority being to secure a new direct aviation link between Darwin and China. Three trips to China and/ or Hong Kong were undertaken in 2016-17 to progress this link. Working with airline partners to increase air traffic to the NT; such as improving access from Central Australia to the east coast of Australia (responding to low capacity), improving access from Darwin to Melbourne (responding to high airfares and demand) and improving aviation links from Perth into the Territory (responding to imminent changes in the operating environment due to arrival of 787-9 aircraft and new route to London from March 2018). Opened the new Catalina premium passenger lounge at Darwin International Airport, which created ten new, ongoing jobs, supports existing international carriers servicing the Territory and will help attract new international airline carriers that require business class and higher yielding passengers to have use of a lounge on departure. We continued to support Virgin Australias services in the Territory through cooperative marketing campaigns (see case study on page 21) and have worked with the Virgin Group on options to improve its network and scheduling. Disappointingly Malaysia Airlines made a decision to cease its services to Darwin during the year; the final flight departed Darwin in July 2017. It was a commercial decision, heavily influenced by the weakness of the Malaysian Ringgit to the American Dollar in recent years, which increased the cost of aviation fuel for the company and made the Darwin service less profitable. While the number of seats sold on the service had seen growth, especially over 2016-17, the service was no longer covering variable costs internally. We worked with NT Airports and Tourism Australia to avoid the withdrawal, including offering a support package in early June linked to cooperative marketing opportunities. CRUISE We continued implementing the NT Cruise Sector Activation Plan 2015-2020, which was developed in consultation with stakeholders and focuses on attracting cruise ships, improving infrastructure and facilities, and experience development. The cruise sector has a current estimated value of $30.7 million annually, with major beneficiaries of passenger spending at the Darwin CBD and waterfront precincts as well as local tour operators. The sector is strategically important as it provides a boost to retailers at an otherwise quiet time of the year. Establishment of the $1.2 million covered walkway, from the cruise ship terminal to the waterfront precinct, has created a positive sense of arrival and walkable option into the waterfront precinct and connectivity to the CBD. We supported the collaboration between Darwin Waterfront and the City Traders Association, which saw a combination of activities the visitor experience for cruise ship passengers, such as welcome entertainment and pop up markets. S T R AT E GY Deliver a viable and efficient workforce that meets industry demand and supports a globally competitive and sustainable tourism sector. We partnered with Tourism Australia on a $2.5 million global working holiday maker campaign and, on behalf of NT employers, businesses and industry associations, we continued to influence Australian Government immigration policy as it relates to the tourism and hospitality through numerous written and verbal submissions, and participation in summits and roundtables. A key focus for the year was the Territorys opposition to the introduction of the backpacker tax, where we partnered with industry to support tourism policy which supports growth in the NT. NT tourism operators regularly engage working holiday makers as a key labour source and the proposed tax increases were deemed detrimental. We worked to address declines seen in the backpacker market through a range of marketing initiatives domestically and globally. Anecdotal reports from our offices indicated that negative media around the issue had already impacted on backpacker perceptions of Australia and therefore visitation from working holiday makers. A compromised backpacker tax of 15 percent on the first $37,000 of income was reached and implemented from 1 January 2017, and saw relief amongst the tourism industry as well as Territory farmers. Address Supply Constraints FUTURE FOCUS We will continue to encourage investment in new and existing tourism product and experiences with a focus on: Assisting proponents to invest in tourism infrastructure that will increase the attractiveness of the Northern Territory as a destination for tourism; for example the Darwin luxury hotel project, Darwin water park project and a new hotel development in Alice Springs Working with Northern Territory government stakeholders to identify government owned land and assets with the potential for tourism development, and supporting their assessment and release to market Collaborating with existing landowners and tourism business operators to identify opportunities for new investment, refurbishment and expansion Attracting high-yielding visitors by encouraging development of experience driven accommodation, such as resort-style accommodation in or adjacent to national parks, which can assist in driving demand and aiding dispersal of visitors throughout the NT. We will continue to work on aviation route development, particularly attracting a direct service from China, which will be revolutionary for the tourism industry in the NT as it will drive sustained economic development across a diverse range of industries. We will support the delivery of the NT Aviation Industry and Services Strategy including aviation route development, growing interline agreements, codeshare arrangements, negotiating open-jaw airfares on routes to the Territory and promoting air-passes. We will also promote point-to-point travel from Asia to Darwin and continue to link marketing, promotions and trade relationships, and support air access domestically. We will continue to work closely with Darwin Port to support cruise ship attraction, and will also continue to advocate tourism-focussed road and infrastructure priorities across government. We will continue to work across government and with partners to influence Commonwealth immigration and other policy as it relates to the tourism and hospitality sector. S T R AT E GY Encourage a supply of commercial accommodation to both support and induce the growth in visitor demand. ACCOMMODATION SUPPLY TOWARD 2020 TARGET An estimated 9089 short-term accommodation rooms (in commercial establishments of 10 or more rooms) were available in the NT as at 30 June 2017, an additional 36 rooms compared to the previous year. Darwin provides more than half (59 percent) of the Territorys room supply while Alice Springs makes up 13 percent. Since 2015 room supply has increased significantly in Darwin, impacting on the average room rates and revenue per available room (RevPAR). For year ending June 2017 these were estimated at $144 and $104 respectively. With room rates now at more competitive prices, demand has grown 6.1 percent over the year, compared to 2015-16. For Alice Springs, the average room rate remained relatively stable at around $117. 2020 target 12,000 10,000 8,000 6,000 4,000 2,000 2014-15 8,448 2013-14 7,335 2012-13 7,469 2015-16 8,859 2016-17 9,089 10,672 Towards 2020 Total NT rooms available (supply) H I G H L I G H T S Opened the new Catalina premium passenger lounge at Darwin International Airport, which will also assist to attract new international airline carriers that require business class and higher yielding passengers. Developed a range of business cases and proposals to airlines that have contributed to a growth in aviation capacity into the NT. Significantly advanced a new, potential direct aviation link between Darwin and China through stronger engagement direct with airlines, in cooperation with partners. Northern Territory accommodation supply toward Tourism Vision 2020 target