I read the Tourism NT response, but it went over …

Comment on Government tourism promotion: value for money? by Russell Guy.

I read the Tourism NT response, but it went over my head.
I’ve said this many times over the past few years of working directly with tourists on the Track – they want to see Nature, i.e. fauna and flora, Aboriginal people sober, to participate in an Indigenous experience and get some accommodation value since they have had to spend up to get here. What about eco-resorts instead of big hotels?
NT tourism’s current pitch needs a re-focus from the bottom up.
It’s difficult not to believe that the bureaucracy hasn’t got its ear to the ground.
If the advertising is done interstate, then it’s a good bet that NT Tourism is taking its cue from the Ivory Tower who wouldn’t know a quartpot from a Letona pear tin.
And at $25m per year, joint-venture deals on Aboriginal land are possible, but something would have to be done about seven day per week takeaway alcohol supply to get it up and running. Blah, blah, blah.

Russell Guy Also Commented

Government tourism promotion: value for money?
@ Terry,
It’s not my intention to be critical, but your post hardly serves what is a declining tourist dollar in the NT. I comment with some degree of accuracy having my figures to hand from the past three seasons.
As mentioned, I have had several seasons of listening to and working with international and domestic tourists and paid attention to their feedback as any good business manager would, so I’m not just whining.
The last NT Tourism delegation that came through, spent ten minutes and were “in a hurry” to get to Tennant and didn’t take note of anything that I said.
My impression was that they considered such things as bushwalking, bushcraft and a Nature experience old hat, but this is what most tourists told me they wanted to see, along with the other points that I made in my earlier post.
My point about the lack of Aboriginal sobriety in broad daylight is one of their dismay. They couldn’t understand it and the majority felt that it was as a result of historical cultural hegemony and wondered why it was so, even “on a Sunday.”
They felt that they stood no chance of having an Indigenous experience because they were “all drunk” and they felt cheated. I don’t think it had anything to do with safety, at least, not out bush. To coin a too-well used phrase, Go figure!
Having been around the NT for over 30 years, working mostly in the bush, but having lived in the Alice township as well, I have to say that the tourism budget of $25m p.a. could be better spent in doing things differently.
We have the ability to make our own television commercials in Alice and they would be great if they weren’t ‘polished’ to an up market sheen that resembles every other pitch known to the glitterati.
The joint-venture with eco lodges on Aboriginal land is a suggestion that in the present circumstances of employment creation. welfare responsibility and a declining tourist dollar has merit. Maybe even the classic win-win scenario, but it will take a longer range view than the life of an advertising campaign.
It will require integration and foresight, vision and planning of a high order across several government departments, NT and Federally.
It will take the cooperation of cockatoos, eagles, kangaroos, emus, Aboriginal skill-sets and the inclusion of art, craft and landscape that is not mystified but just plainly presented and left to sell itself as unique, because that is what it is, although, I perceive that it is passing into yore because it’s not considered foundational.
Most of all, it will require a rethink on the “core culture of drinking” celebrated by the present Chief Minister and amendments to the supply of alcohol, as indicated, something which I seriously doubt the current NT government has the will, the power or the creative insight to take on in the interests of the tourist economy. And lastly, Terry, how about posting your surname?

Recent Comments by Russell Guy

Alcohol floor price may breach Australian Constitution
The fact that no action is being taken by the Winemakers Federation, preferring instead to work with the NT Government; that there have been no casks larger than two litres in the NT for several years and in Alice Springs for several more, because they are banned, we should be encouraged by their example, along with other retailers who have shown similar intent.
Tourist tipple and alcohol problems in the NT are interrelated. In a recent post, I pointed out the illogic of sacrificing current levels of visible alcohol-related harm to the tourist economy, which will only cause further decline.
The Mandatory Treatment Act (2013), since repealed, highlighted how harmful and disempowering alcohol restrictions can be, particularly where Indigenous communities have not been involved in their development.
While Steve Brown appears to consider it a “do gooder” issue and appeals for ice containment, he ignores the need for alcohol supply restriction in the general community, a product, it could be argued, of laissez faire capitalism over 50 years, culminating in corner stores trading in takeaway alcohol seven days a week.
Mr Brown compounds his approach by wishing that crystal methamphetamine (ice) was not a problem, allegedly within Indigenous communities.
It would be better if he, and others of a similar opinion, evinced the same desire for alcohol management through community coalitions backed by government regulation or government‐initiated community partnerships, which according to a recent article in the Australian and New Zealand Public Health Journal, “have been successful in harnessing local knowledge and Indigenous social systems to curb the unintended impacts of alcohol regulation”.
The article revealed that improved health and social outcomes, for example, by tethering demand reduction programs to supply restrictions had been achieved.
Outrage over the disempowerment of Grey Nomads to purchase a cask of cheap wine, while the harmful use of alcohol among Territorians continues at levels in excess of the national average, ignores the possibility of a community-led solution, even when governments repeal poorly consulted legislation such as the MTA.
In the mid-1980s, Territorians died from being stabbed by glass flagons. Casks were introduced by governments working with the winemakers and less harm eventuated.
It didn’t curtail harmful levels of consumption, nor the granting of takeaway licenses, but the NT Government, acting on recommendations from Justice Riley’s Report, is facing up to the cost of those unacceptable levels and investigating ways of working with the underlying cultural problems.
Learning from history on which evidence-based legislation like soft packaging and a demand reduction floor price is based seems more appropriate than sticking one’s head in the sand.

Ice Age in Alice
Four balls coming back over the net. Policy on the run.
@ Local 1: Comparing Queensland with the NT is apples and oranges. Been crossing the border all my life, not just for a week.
@ Steve Brown: I want to see evidence for your claims, not just anecdotal. Been there.
@ John Bell: Commonsense has been missing in action and @ Paul Parker, same thing.
Tolerance, common sense and reason were the founding values of the European Enlightenment. Not going well.
Finally, to all, I speak for myself, not for PAAC, whose evidence-based campaign assisted the NT Government in micro-managing the issue of liberal alcohol supply with a floor price. The claim that it makes all alcohol more expensive is incorrect.

Ice Age in Alice
The floor price is not a “silver bullet.”
There is none. There are only a suite of measures to reduce levels of supply, including the BDR.
A floor price targets the cheapest alcohol sold, mostly cask wine, consumed by the most desperate addicts, including pregnant women.
Canada and Scotland have a floor price.
It was introduced this week in the NT after a long evidence-based campaign.
Cynicism is an easy choice, but I’ve been involved in reducing alcohol-related harm in the NT since 1986 when I produced four songs with Indigenous band, Coloured Stone for the NT Road Safety Board.
If you allow yourself to get cynical and negative about drugs, of which alcohol is one of the most prevalent, then you might as well accept the carnage as inevitable.
Take the opposition over the recent Master’s Games request by the police for light and midstrength beer.
One of your readers posted anonymously, calling those who lobby to turn the tap down a “mob” who are only interested in prohibition. That’s hysteria.
The NT Government is currently looking into the seven days a week take away grog licensing regime.
Australia has a culture of alcoholism, particularly around sport.
Changing that culture, currently costing NT taxpayers $640m p.a. is a positive step towards putting money into ice rehab.

Apex Club ‘fenced out’ of running Masters Games bars
@ “Ray”. My argument for turning the tap down (not off, as you insinuate with your anonymous post), exposes your confusion, but it clarifies one point.
It will be hypocritical for you to point to the Indigenous as being responsible for the town’s social problems again.
While you busy yourself over being “the laughing stock of the country”, the hospital and police records continue to speak for themselves and show no sign of abating, due to what is a culture of alcoholism.
It was the police who requested light and midstrength beer be served at this sporting event.
As an attendee at last Friday’s National Police Remembrance Day, the names of those officers who were killed in the line of duty was sobering, yet they who we appoint to serve and protect are fobbed off.
Justifying the capitulation on the economy and giving back to the “community” is evidence of your confusion, but as cultural tourism is the vogue, it will be interesting to see how long before you start referring to “the section of the community that has the issue” again.

Apex Club ‘fenced out’ of running Masters Games bars
Why such despondency, “Ray”?
The streets of Alice Springs are paved with gold if you have eyes to see.
They need not be awash with the consequences of alcoholism.
Turn the tap down (not off) and you will see how a great town can come back from fifty years of an uncapped flow.

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