Debates Day 4 - Tuesday 30 October 2012
Parliamentary Record 1
Debates for 12th Assembly 2012 - 2016; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 12th Assembly 2012 - 2016
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)
Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES Tuesday 30 October 2012 250 committed to developing. I am pleased to have the opportunity in the House to explain why tourism is so important to the Northern Territory and the Northern Territory economy. What I want to outline in this statement is the plans we have to revitalise tourism in the Northern Territory. The importance of tourism in the Territory is unquestioned on this side of the House. The NT has a higher reliance on tourism than any other state or Territory in Australia. It is a major economic driver with a broad impact on many other industry sectors. It generates a significant number of jobs in the Territory. Across the Northern Territory, one in eight people are employed in the tourism sector through tourism or hospitality. People employed directly due to tourism make up 6.1% of the Territory workforce compared to 4.5% nationally, which underlines the importance of tourism to the Northern Territory economy. Our tourism industry is made up of nearly 700 businesses, including accommodation providers, attractions, tour and transport operators, and vehicle and vessel hire companies. The great majority - that is about 90% - of the industry is made up of sole traders; that is, micro and small businesses owned and operated solely within the Northern Territory. Tourism contributes an estimated $1.4bn in gross value-added product to the NT economy, which cannot be underestimated. That is, 8.5% compared to 5.3% nationally. Gross value-added is considered to be the most accurate measure of tourisms contribution to the economy. This higher than average contribution means the Northern Territory economy has a higher risk factor in the event of external shocks to the industry such as terrorism and disease. We have seen both of those in recent years: wars and natural disasters. That is important because tourism is a vulnerable industry, in regard to global impacts and its high reliance on discretionary spending and competition for share of wallet. The industry can be further affected by the higher Australian dollar - as we are seeing - and the health of the global economy. We are all experiencing that and are very aware of that. The tourism dollar is competing against other leisure activities such as entertainment and shopping, or life commitments such as paying the mortgage, education expenses - whatever it might be - those everyday family expenses every single Territorian has to undertake. The total contribution tourism makes to the economy consists of direct and indirect contributions. Tourism has a broad impact on many industry sectors, all of which could be affected by its susceptibility. The industries that directly contribute to tourism gross value-added in the NT include air, water, rail and other transport, accommodation, cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services. The indirect or flow-on effects of tourism demand include the supply of goods and services produced by non-tourism industries to satisfy the demand of industries directly supplying visitors. In the hotel industry, for example, this might include fresh produce supplied to it, and the electricity used to generate its power component to run the hotel. The people creating the demand are not fly-ins or fly-outs who typify mass tourism; the people who come to the Territory are seeking a holiday with meaning and a purpose that indulges their special interests and fulfils the particular reason for which they have travelled - the Northern Territory is a relatively specialised tourism destination. This may be in the form of interactive learning which exposes them to different cultures or one that provides them with a physical or philological challenge. Experiential travellers - as they are called in the market speak - seek holidays that will provide them with a sense of personal enrichment. In other words, they are here for the experience. For many, the experience itself matters more to them than the destination. They are willing to travel great distances and pay substantial amounts towards having the experience. Consequentially, these travellers often yield high profits for tourism operators. While the profit yield from these visitors is generally slightly higher than average, these travellers do not expect a superior quality of value for money. Many of these travellers rely on lead users to alert them to new places so they can explore them before they are discovered by the masses. In other words, word-of-mouth promotion often provides the motivation for subsequent visitation. To sustain subsequent visitation to the Northern Territory, destinations desired by these sorts of travellers need to be accessible. Given that the Northern Territory occupies about one sixth of Australias total land mass we have plenty of places for these people to explore. Despite the importance of these travellers to the Northern Territory and the tourism industry, it cannot be discounted that visitors come here to enjoy the delights of the warmer weather, which provide an escape during the winter months. I have to qualify some of those comments because in my neck of the woods, that is Central Australia, it can get mighty cold; but we also experience some of the most glorious winter weather in Australia, blue skies, 25 degrees during the day. Okay, it gets cold at night, but nothing really beats an Alice Springs winter if you want to experience that part of the world.