The escalating decline in visitor numbers into Alice is not …

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

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.

Steve Brown Also Commented

After years of under-achieving, tourism promoters say they are getting cracking
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!


Recent Comments by Steve Brown

Gallery fiasco: school heritage process ‘massively flawed’
Oddly enough Domeninco, from around 1984 I’ve noted an escalating deterioration of our town’s earlier strengths and character.
Those of us who are amongst the town’s earliest families, the builders of the Alice and other towns in the Territory, understood what it took to create healthy, well balanced, economically viable, communities.
Unfortunately the vibrancy once driven by a very healthy private sector has long since given way to petty bureaucracy and welfareism along with all the blow in petty politic of envy and ignorance those sectors brought with them.
Replacing vibrancy, hope and belief with a petty mentality of obstructionism and envy, glaring down, standing in the way of, anything that might create, dare I say, the dirty words economic progress!
This attempt to save an ugly, rotten old, asbestos riddled building of no architectural merit is just another example of that moronic stifling mentality.
Crime and corruption about which these people winge constantly, flourishes in places that don’t offer hope and progress!
Sloth and disillusionment flourish in places of bureaucratic overload and petty envious obstructionism!
To clean our town up, to get it moving, to offer hope, we need to deal with those things!
We simply must learn to walk right on bye the wingers, specially the blow-in wingers, and to get right on with building our town, a place of enormous potential if only it is given enough air to breathe.


Gallery fiasco: school heritage process ‘massively flawed’
There is absolutely nothing architecturally noteworthy about this crappy old building, just because a particular person visited, walked past, looked at or went to this school doesn’t make it a place that must be preserved!
It would hang like a millstone around the community’s collective necks for perpetuity.
This building has been sitting there rotting for years yet you suddenly find a deep underlying passion and love for it when another use for its location is found?
I cry BS on this claim!
You are simply being obstructionist! As per usual I might add!
Keeping old completely un-noteworthy buildings in premier positions simply creates an enormously expensive ulcerating rot in the central locations of town, forcing us to extend our CBD over a wider and wider area destroying along with that expansion any chance of creating a thriving central CBD.
So while there certainly are buildings that are noteworthy and worth preserving despite this fact ie Flynn Church and Adelaide House etc.
Much less noteworthy building such as this old school must give way to the new!


Private forecaster tips massive rains for Alice
Heavy rains will certainly be welcome, no doubt about it Ed, but 30 to 50mm is a long way short of what’s required to produce floods like the one pictured.
That kind of flood requires closer to 200mm over a fairly short period of time … wouldn’t that be nice?


Big crowd at local School Strike 4 Climate Action
@ Evelyn: While I agree with the general intent of your comment it is important to note for the interested children’s education, that neither their action nor any taken by this nation will have the slightest effect on the world climate! Even if we could completely halt all of our carbon production tomorrow, it would not make the slightest difference to climate change.
So by all means kids work towards a cleaner environment, cleaner air and cleaner oceans, but don’t be taken for a ride by those who seek to create irrational fears about your own beautiful world, through politically motivated, fear mongering garbage, about climate change.
It is a natural part of our world and always will be!
The thing we really do need to need fear and guard against, are the mindless efforts of indoctrinated climate fanatics who seek through their ignorance and city bred real world isolation, to do something irrational about planetary warming.
It would benefit everyone to keep in mind that a warming climate is a more productive climate, while on the other hand a cooling climate very quickly becomes a threat to all life on earth, through starvation!
Let’s hope we get to sit somewhere in between. In the meantime there is one very real threat we should all fight and guard against, the life threatening efforts of climate science to artificially interfere with our climate. One stupid mistake and “Winter really will be coming”!


‘Arrogant’ government fails to answer 20 questions
Didn’t Robyn spruik long and loud the benefits of having an Independent Member for Araluen?
Now she is completely bound up in petty squabbling about more resources.
And not one single question to Government about things that affect the rest of us.
While the Territory goes to hell in a hand basket!
No pressure on Government at all!
Talk about ineffective.
You are payed a dam good wage plus expenses. Write your own speeches and for the Territory’s sake, get on with the job.
[ED – Mr Brown was the CLP candidate for Araluen.]


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