Well hello Byjingalo, quite the venomous response from you to …

Comment on Tourism: let the battle for the big spenders begin by Tony Wood.

Well hello Byjingalo, quite the venomous response from you to my post. Thanks for that! In response I would merely like to re-iterate my post; it was my opinion only and I was merely recounting my sense of recoil when I last passed through, along with overheard opinions from interstate tourists.
You may be correct in your assertion that I have failed to follow the unfolding story of Alice in the past 10 years. In short, I may have made assumptions – much like your assumption of what you seem to think life is like in Darwin. Trust me, living up here is more of a challenge than Alice and I consider Darwin vastly inferior to Alice in pretty much every way. Try living up here at certain climatically challenging times when you just want to die. Or perhaps you have? See, I just made another assumption.
That little score-settling response aside, in your response to Hal Duell you mention that Alice has always been a point of arrival and departure to the other attractions of Central Australia. It seems that you think there is no financial detriment attached to this (there I go just assuming again), yet would it not be better for tourists to make Alice their anchor whilst they enjoy the surrounding attractions?
The point of my post is that visitors are probably less likely to want to stay in a place that intimidates them. When I lived in Alice, the tourists you spoke to loved the place by and large. This was most assuredly not the tone of conversation I heard when staying there over Finke weekend a few years ago. Were it not for the race itself (most were there to either watch the race or were support for people in the race), most of the people I listened to would have taken flight days before.
Again Byjingalo, just my opinion. Just because I live “above the Berrimah line” (I’d be willing to bet those words escaped your lips when you read my post), doesn’t mean that I can’t have an opinion about a town I truly love.

Tony Wood Also Commented

Tourism: let the battle for the big spenders begin
Ten years ago I left Alice for work, to the “big smoke” (which is true at certain times of the year) of Darwin.
I have learnt with increasing sadness since my departure of the dwindling state of fortune of Alice Springs, a place that I love and yearn for still.
I was quite sad at what I saw when I passed through years ago en-route to elsewhere (not unlike many these days it seems) – the businesses closed, the empty storefronts, the lack of energy.
Where was the vibrant, incredible, beautiful town that I moved to a quarter of a century prior? The town that captivated me the very moment I entered it a quarter-century ago? The town that had given me so many great memories? It seemed bereft, bland, used-up and worn out.
Why is this? Everything that everybody loves about it is still there – the impossible-to-rate MacDonnell Ranges that manage to look incredible no matter the time of year from east to west, the incredible stillness when you venture even a short distance from town (coupled with the aforementioned view), the amazing people (to this day the most laid-back and friendly place I have lived), the sheer improbability of such an amazing town being in the middle of absolutely nowhere.
So why is it that people don’t view it as an attractive holiday destination anymore?
When I lived in Alice it was well understood that most visitors were there just to have a look on the way to Uluru. If you got two days out of them you were doing well. It seems that they can’t be bothered with even that anymore.
Can I offer my opinion of why people are more likely to bypass Alice as a port-of-call?
This opinion is based on my own reaction when passing through as I mentioned earlier. I was simply astounded, amazed, mortified – whatever – by the number of itinerants shambling about the streets, loitering around any business that offered even a drop of alcohol.
I have never seen such large groups of the lowest ebbs of humanity. I remarked on such to my wife, who had also lived for a time in Alice – “I have never seen them like this, this is astonishing”.
We were in town for Finke, and where we were staying was full of tourists. I overheard many expressions of horror from such tourists at the enormous numbers of people and their behavior, who and which they were clearly afraid of.
Misguided fear as far as I am concerned, as they are largely harmless; more of a danger to themselves and each other than they are to the rest of us. Nonetheless, to those unfamiliar it must be an imposing and confronting sight.
As any grey nomad will tell you, word-of-mouth is better than any advertising – they go where everybody else tells them is a good place to go. If Alice has a reputation for being a dangerous and scary place, it doesn’t matter how good the scenery is. That glass of wine with the amazing backdrop is made all the less attractive if people are publicly urinating, defecating, fornicating, fighting and trying to kill each other in the foreground.
Good luck Alice, I love you and miss you still. I shall return one day, in the meantime – good luck.

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