If the “Passionate Local Operator” would like to know what’s …

Comment on After years of under-achieving, tourism promoters say they are getting cracking by Steve Brown.

If the “Passionate Local Operator” would like to know what’s gone so horribly wrong with our Tourist Industry, stand in front of the mirror, put what you see together with the Management of Yulara and the Rock over the past 30 years and the the answer will be right in front of you. Back again today from another round trip through Glen Helen across the rough to Haasts Bluff then on to Papunya and back on the top road past Narwietooma, Milton Park, Hamilton Downs ect, even though I was in a rush as usual, doing the whole run in a few short hours, the country side flitting by outside the window at a pretty scary rate still awe inspiring, never ceasing to amaze. Sunrise across the face of Haasts Bluff capped by some early morning mist quite simply indescribably breath taking. Yet not a tourist in sight. How many years have we been developing our product, promoting our Region?? How much effort have we put into developing our infrastructure?? If we were to seal this Loop Road and open up gravel access roads into the many beautiful hidden and intriguing places within the mountains, adding camping places, walking trails, the occasional lodge, restaurant, hotel, motel what an astounding product we would have to sell the World! A product that certainly would warrant an International Airport. But you have to begin at the beginning, first build the product, then comes increasing numbers, flights, International Airports and the rest. It takes vision, guts, capital, hard work and a Government willing to provide the basic infrastructure whilst maintaining an appropriate non stifling distance from the developing industry. Let’s get on with it!

Steve Brown Also Commented

After years of under-achieving, tourism promoters say they are getting cracking
The escalating decline in visitor numbers into Alice is not entirely due to world economic downturn. The decline can also be blamed very much on the continued emphasis by Government and favoured operators on the concentrated advertising of Ayers Rock/Uluru as the single great attraction of the Centre. The beautiful places on display in your article are virtually unknown to the rest of the World, even within our own Country.
When Tourism was in its infancy in the Centre, the Rock was a vague, distant, hard to get to, pretty well unknown attraction. Tourism began around the spectacular scenery, the sheer isolation, the frontier feel of the MacDonell Ranges, with Alice offering a comfortable, interesting base from which to view it all.
Too much Government interference and bureaucracy put an end to all that. Emphasis by Government, an emphasis that continues to this day, on promoting and pushing the interests of the Rock at the expense of the rest of the industry, compensating for a ridiculous over commitment at the Yulara Resort. The extra promotion eventually resulted in massively increasing numbers at the Resort, numbers increasing by up to 20% per annum.
Over confidence and arrogance brought about by the sheer weight of willing visitors and the lack of any competition for the Resort gave birth to a “meat market” style approach to tourism there, “get them in, take their money, kick them out”, attitude. At the same time local bureaucracy, Park Management developed its own special kind of resentful, couldn’t care less arrogance towards Park Visitors, a growing contempt for their wishes which has resulted over a considerable number of years in much anger and dissatisfaction with the product on offer.
Many visitors to the Centre after firstly being bruised by the Rock experience also find that they have missed out on much of what could, and should, have been offered to them for very little extra expense, leaving them disappointed, angry and feeling cheated by virtue of not having been made aware of all that was on offer in a Region they had gone to a great deal of expense to reach. Not advertising and selling the whole product, making sure visitors are aware of all that is available clearly demonstrates a level of disregard for their experience that they are not going to remember with affection when recounting their stories to others – still the most effective or disastrous form of advertising!
How do we counteract the now very negative perception of our product and the Rock??? I think it’s time Alice saw the Rock as a direct competitor, it’s time we worked very hard at selling the vastly superior product we have to offer. If we are successful in this it will also have the added benefit of forcing the Rock into lifting their game. Keep in mind Tourism at the Rock grew on the back of daily flights and bus trips out of Alice with visitors making our town their destination point. It’s time to recreate that market, light aircraft and buses from Alice to the Rock listed and promoted as only one of the hundreds of attraction on offer from our Town. It is time to actively compete with the Yulara Resort in providing accommodation for visitors to the Rock. Show the world the infinitely superior product we can offer with a fly in fly out, bus in bus out service.
Along with the competition for the Rock visitors, it is absolutely beyond time that we turned our attentions to our ‘Tourism Roots’. What we began with is still there! Nothing has changed! Only the belief and the vision have gone missing. How do we regain that? I believe we can.
It’s time to widen the Centralian Experience by opening up the MacDonnell Ranges to everyone, make the beautiful places within them accessible to the drive market, families, caravans, buses, campers. Open up our Parks, improve the access, encourage the development of facilities providing accommodation service and entertainment throughout the length and breadth of the Ranges. Actively encourage development of this kind by communities and pastoralists and any other interested parties, make available development sites at the various attractions on National Parks. Open up the magnificent Western Macs, actively encourage Aboriginal interest at Haasts Bluff, Papunya, Mt Liebig, Gosse’s Bluff and everywhere in between to open up and offer access to this extraordinary country that quite frankly leaves the Rock experience for dead!
Tourism dead in the Centre! No Future! Bullshit! We haven’t even begun! We’ve just been set back awhile by really lousy Government. We can change it! Just as soon as we’ve completed step ONE! Cleaning up this town, keeping it clean and making sure the rest of the world knows it!

PS: Might be time Editor took a trip west to bring back some shots of the extraordinary places that could and should be on offer. Great excuse for a trip, Erwin.


Recent Comments by Steve Brown

Gallery: Council did not say boo
It is time we all recognised that Aboriginal people are equal individual Australians and can speak for themselves, having as many and varied opinions on subjects as the rest of us.
Too much consultation, too much discussion is not a healthy thing. It leads to bogged down confusion, exacerbates division and generally leads to nowhere, no result.
That’s why we have a system of a democratically elected government, to make decisions on our behalf.
In the case of the gallery they have selected their site and are sticking to their decision, good on them for that much at least.
Let’s now see if they can actually produce something on the ground. I must say I really do have doubts, however time will tell.
The important thing about living in a democracy is to understand that while you push your argument for all its worth during the discussion, at the end of the process, when the decision is made, win or loose or draw you must put self interest aside accept the result and out of respect and in the interest of your community’s advancement.
Fall in behind the a decision reached by a majority government.
If you don’t like what they have done kick them out at the next election!


Gallery: Council did not say boo
Polls are run in attempt to gain community feeling on a subject, not to make the actual decision.
If we ever reach such a farcical state where that occurs, the country will simply cease to function.
The important thing to take into account from the polls, petitions and rallies is not the results for and against, but the numbers that participated.
Of the small number who did, on every occasion except for the councils latest fascicle attempt, which was clearly hacked, the numbers were well below 2000.
Divided about 50-50, a thousand each out of a town of 28,500 residents!
In planning or decision making those who do not show an interest one way or the other are counted as supportive!
A thousand against equals a tiny 3.5% of the population! Not at all sure we would want to base any decision making on that!
Further, council only exists under the Territory’s Local Government Act.
It is in fact owned wholly and solely by the Territory Government which makes it a matter of protocol in such circumstances that the Territory Government takes the lead and makes the decision.
The council’s role is to advise and lobby on behalf of and in the interests of its own future role but not to stand in the way of a government of which council itself is actually a part!
In light of that fact the council’s decision to be site neutral and simply to work with government to achieve the best possible outcome for our community is absolutely the correct position, just a shame they didn’t explain it to the community!
Oh, and the Territory Government does not have to “resume” that which it already owns to start work on it!
So council would be well advised to ingratiate itself making certain it is part of design committees and project implementation, committees where they will be in the best possible place to influence the final outcome.


Anonymous donation doesn’t fix conflict of interest for council
There were very important representations made to the Prime Minister by community organisations grateful for a very rare opportunity to put their case directly to the top.
I attended a round table with police talking about child abuse, DASA talking about a huge increase in ice abuse in our community.
I was there to talk about the need to look after our street kids and the provision of a 24/7 drop in centre. I know Red Tails and others also contributed.
The Prime Minister talked about putting together a regional plan. That was the level of discussion going on.


Anonymous donation doesn’t fix conflict of interest for council
One of the primary roles a council performs for its community is public relations, meeting greeting guests, trying to give a friendly welcoming all round good impression of the community.
Acting like a sales person if you like, in selling the benefits of our community to the world.
Individuals, businesses, governments of all persuasions from all levels are lobbied.
Considering this role, do we seriously think spending $1400 on greeting the leader of the nation is an issue?
Wouldn’t you think that greeting the distributor of the vast amounts of government funding this community receives would be just plain respectful good manners?
I am utterly appalled ashamed at the actions of four small minded disrespectful councillors who cannot put aside petty personality politics for five minutes to support the greater interest of this community.
It is an indictment of the farcical electoral system which throws up such narcissistic individuals who clearly place no value on the gains of our community, simply intent on creating obnoxious, always contrary mayhem to cover a contemuously lazy and disrespectful approach for the role to which were elected.


Price, Turnbull should pay for town council function: Cr Banks
I cant believe the disrespectful “entitled” commentary around this subject, really?
We are a small town in the centre of Australia, one of thousands of small towns in this country, the Prime Minister of our nation shows enough interest in our community’s struggles to take time out and visit to discuss advancing our region through the establishment of a regional plan, so very much in the interests of every Centralian!
And yet we get a couple of non contributing councillors who couldn’t be bothered fulfilling their own expected role as councillors, but still with their hand out for a similar amount every month, whingeing about a lousy 1400 dollars to facilitate and respectfully greet the leader of our nation!
Of course council should facilitate the Prime Minister and his departments meeting greeting, facilitating important visitors to town is a primary role for councils everywhere.
I’ll bet you a penny to a pound that there are councils of small towns all over this country who would shell out considerably more for the same opportunity, because it is in the interest of their constituents!
And if you don’t understand that then I can only suggest that you don’t belong anywhere near our council!
Further in recent months I have noted a continuous flow of disinformation from certain councillors, claims of bullying, not being invited to events and recently claims that having to officially apologise for non attendance is some kind of bullying isolation of the few.
What utter garbage. The line of code of conduct charges against one councillor came from council staff not other councillors because that councillor is a disrespectful loud mouth whose comments are often very disrespectful of staff.
Whether those code of conducts were upheld is completely irrelevant, what is relevant is the fact that staff felt the need to make them in the first place!
It is their only form of defence when they are impinged, it points, very pointedly I believe, to who the bully in the pack is.
Further, some councillors simply aren’t contributing, not giving the very large commitment the role requires, not bothering to show up for meetings, not having read their notes when they do.
The requirement to register their apologies is so that the public gets to see for themselves who is contributing to the nitty gritty plain boring hard work and who is taking a free ride and using the councillor role to grandstand trying to sell the idea they are actually contributing to our community. I hope local media will also keep a firm eye on this.


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