CEO Report

Welcome to our first digital only edition! It has been a busy few months since the last final hard copy magazine went to print, with the NT election and return of the Territory Labor Government, further border announcements and changes to JobKeeper and JobSeeker all happening.

I recently took the opportunity to head down the track and went further south than Katherine for the first time this year – something that would have been good to do earlier this year save for the biosecurity restriction. I hope to more regularly get out and about and see as many members and venues as possible.

The general consensus from venues I spoke with from Darwin to Alice, out to Curtin Springs and back is that whilst we don’t take for granted how fortunate we have been in this COVID world relative to the rest of the country, the misperception that ‘borders are now open so all business has returned’ is one that we will need to continue to challenge.

Taking the annual estimation of 2 million tourists, visitors and business travellers to the Territory in a normal year and accounting for our seasonality the idea that the often quoted and ever increasing number of those that have ‘crossed the borders’ since reopening this year is a large number can be strongly dispelled. The last public figure I have seen is 81,000 when same time last year we got more like 400,000 – 500,000. So, the interstate tourists we have benefitted from represent 15-20% of normal traveller numbers.

Those with a higher proportion of local consumers in their business models are faring better than those more heavily reliant on those missing tourists but either way we will continue to advocate and keep the spotlight on our industry – one of the worst impacted by these Government led shutdowns and restrictions this year.

We hope the remainder of the year continues to improve, in terms of containing COVID-19 within the Southern states and look forward to the borders with Greater Sydney re-opening, expected to occur in the next couple of weeks.

Again, we know how relatively lucky we have been to date but we are far from out of the woods yet, and hope to continue to see practical and pragmatic decision making from the NT Government should the Territory’s COVID-19 picture change.

Alex Bruce