Tourists taking a camel ride near Uluru, in happier times for the NT tourism industry.
 Picture: Tourism NT/Matt Cherubino
Tourists taking a camel ride near Uluru, in happier times for the NT tourism industry. Picture: Tourism NT/Matt Cherubino

NT tourism takes $40m hit in a single month

THE Northern Territory's tourism industry took a $40 million hit in March, latest Tourism Research Australia data reveals.

The national visitor survey for domestic tourism shows tourism spend in the Territory was $74 million compared with $110 million for the same time last year, a drop of 33 per cent.

Queensland suffered the biggest drop of 50 per cent.

The percentage drop was very much in line with other Australian jurisdictions and reflects the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

Nor surprisingly the international market across Australia crashed in March. The Territory led the way down 70 per cent with just $8 million coming in from international visitors compared with $27 million for the same time in 2019.

Federal Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister Simon Birmingham said the new data reinforces the importance of Australians holidaying in their own backyard this year.

Mr Birmingham said it would be critical to helping the tourism industry get back on its feet and warned that the June quarter data was likely to be even worse, highlighting the pain being felt across the tourism sector.

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"The Morrison Government's decision to close our international borders, and other necessary restrictions have played a critical role in keeping Australians safe and has helped to suppress the spread of COVID-19," Mr Birmingham said.

"Border and travel restrictions, while necessary, have hit our tourism industry hard. All Australians owe thanks to tourism businesses and employees who have borne the brunt of restrictions to keep us safe from COVID-19.

"Our economic support, including cash payments to businesses of up to $100,000 and the JobKeeper payment, has given hundreds of thousands of tourism businesses across Australia a lifeline to help them get through the COVID-19 crisis.

"As government considers what future assistance may be necessary beyond September, the best thing that many Australians can do to support these businesses is to book a holiday here in Australia.

"With our international borders expected to remain closed for the foreseeable future, our priority right now is getting Australians travelling to parts where we have successfully suppressed the spread of COVID-19.

"As some state borders begin to open up in the next few weeks, the best thing that can happen for our tourism industry right now, is for people to make bookings and undertake trips to regions where it is safe to do so, because this will help save a small business or the job of a fellow Australian."

He said the Federal Government will be ramping up domestic marketing activities.

"The diverse and incredible experiences that are on offer across our country, to encourage Australians to travel again and generate economic activity in our tourism regions," he said.

Originally published as NT tourism takes $40m hit in a single month amid COVID-19 crisis



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