The NT, Northern Territory relies heavily on the income pulled in from the tourism industry, but has seen its numbers wane in recent years. Tourism currently brings in around $1.7 billion, but that number is down from what it was just 10 years ago. The Northern Territory government is well aware of the issue, which is why they implemented a strategic approach to selling the region a couple of years ago. According to Chief Minister Adam Giles, the plan of attack is working, as the numbers are starting to skew in an upward direction once again.
We are about halfway through the peak season in the territory, and all the targets have already been exceeded to this point. That is not enough for everyone involved, though, as they goal is to think of promotions and initiatives that will keep the tourist trade buzzing in the off-peak season, too. Nitmiluk National Park GM Tony Clemenston said that he has noticed a small increase in accommodation and recreational activity business, which is good news for those who make their living in those industries. While the news is good, there is still a ways to go for the government to hits it $2.2 billion goal by 2020.
Since people who seek out Katherine accommodation for their vacation usually do so with a little bit of adventure in mind, the government has decided to launch the Barra initiative, which will target those types of tourists. A total of 76 fish have been specially tagged, and can net fishermen a cool $10,000 if they catch one of them. The big bonus is that one of the fish comes with a prize of $1 million, 25% of which is funded by the NT government, while the remaining amount is financed by corporations. To this point, 5000 people have registered to take part.
The contest will run from October through February, and it is drawing in people from far and wide. Contestants are coming from neighboring states, as well as from foreign ports of call, all with the hope of landing the big one. The reason these dates were chosen is because it is during wet season, which is usually when the tourist trade takes a serious dip. This level of excitement is obviously making it clear that getting a little wet is well worth the effort of winning some big money.
The park looks very different during that time of year, with the river raging, and the surrounding landscape incredibly lush. The hope is that word of the beauty of the park year round will spread and eventually make more people want to visit during the off-peak months. It’s a big gamble, but one that appears to be paying off, given the level of interest in the competition. You certainly won’t be hearing any complaints from the folks who run the Katherine accommodations, as a solid year round business is good for the bottom line.