Territory Stories

Debates Day 4 - Tuesday 30 October 2012



Debates Day 4 - Tuesday 30 October 2012

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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





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Hansard Office

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES Tuesday 30 October 2012 251 Nevertheless, it is just not happening. In the last 10 years our market share of international holiday visitors staying overnight has declined from 13% to 7.9%. Over the same period, our market share of domestic holiday visitors staying overnight has stayed more or less the same, going from 1.3% to 1.4% - a minute increase - so it has stagnated. If we look at where they went during this period, about twice as many international holiday visitors stayed overnight in Central Australia compared with the Top End, whereas more domestic holiday makers stayed overnight in the Top End than Central Australia. We are seeing two types of experiences here. With the new focus on marketing the Territory as a whole, it is predicted visitors will explore areas which previously may not have been considered. If we look more broadly at the figures for all visitors, not just holiday makers, for the year ending 30 June 2012, total domestic visitor numbers to the Northern Territory increased, but international visitation has continued to struggle. We need to focus our approach to further stimulate demand across the Northern Territory. Total international visitation during the same period was down 14% to just 263 000. However, I have to say that based on information provided to me by Tourism NT a couple of weeks ago, there was encouraging growth from the United States, which is up 7%, and north-east Asia, including China, which is up 9.1%. The USA is now the Territorys equal largest source market, equal with the UK. Who would have thought that that would be the case? Traditionally, the UK is our strongest market. I am unsure but this could be largely attributed to the Oprah effect following the visit by the talk show queen last year. Total visitation from most of the Territorys key European markets and the UK declined in Australia, resulting in visitor numbers to the Top End declining by 12% and to Central Australia by 15%. There is a great deal of work to be done to arrest this decline in international tourism, particularly in Central Australia, and to grow and disperse this domestic recovery. Under the stewardship of Tourism NTs current CEO, John Fitzgerald, steps have been taken to explore the potential of other source markets like the education and cruise markets. Internationally, all the signs point to challenges to maintain visitation from our traditional western markets and increase our share of markets like China. Chinas outbound travel market is one of the fastest growing in the world. We have seen that emerge over recent years. Everyone is excited about China and the impact it could have on Northern Territory tourism, but our market share is less than 1% of Chinese visitors to Australia. We need to do something about that. If that could be increased to between 3% and 5% by 2020, it would deliver between 30 000 and 40 000 visitors per year, making China one of the top three international markets to the Northern Territory, based on current measures of international visitation. However, as part of this governments Asian engagement strategy we are also looking beyond China to capture the international market. As part of its future direction, Tourism NT has taken a leadership role in enhancing and enriching the industries focused on the East. In November it is running the inaugural NT China Operator Mission, providing representatives of seven Northern Territory businesses with fantastic opportunities to make key leisure and business events contacts over six days in Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong. Let us turn to the domestic market. Recent increases in domestic visitation occurred across all purposes of visit, but particularly in business, which was up by 17%. People visiting friends and relatives was up by 29%, and people on holidays was up by 10%. This suggests that the number of visitors with a distinct reason to come to the Territory has increased; however, those who have a choice of location are not as likely to choose the Northern Territory as a destination to visit. It is interesting that tourism, when you break it down, really is about a lot of statistics and data and this is what we are seeing emerge as we look at the landscape of tourism throughout the Northern Territory. If we look at the business segment we can expect some growth to occur naturally in this area because of people flying from major resource projects and other business activities. However, this segment includes business events which are worth approximately $51m to direct delegate expenditure in the Northern Territory, which is approximately $10m for Central Australia and $41m for the Top End. Those statistics are from the Alice Springs and Darwin Convention Centres, so we are looking at about $51m for those business events. There is great potential for growth in the business events market and we want a bigger slice of that for the Northern Territory. There is no reason why Alice Springs and Darwin cannot become major destinations for business events and conventions in the future. We will do everything we possibly can to make sure that happens. A Tourism NT initiative to attract more meetings, conferences and incentive groups to the Territory kicked off in Brisbane last week and is travelling to Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide this week,