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Estimates Day 1: Nicole Manison: Tourism Minister more in touch with reality TV than reality

June 13, 2023

Media release from the Shadow Minister for Tourism, Marie-Clare Boothby:

Shadow Tourism Minister Marie-Clare Boothby said today, the Minister was delighted to express that she has had ‘many chats’ in relation to Tourism but failed to elaborate on any real outcomes, confirming again Labor’s all talk no action approach to Government.

After hours of questioning today Ms Boothby said “This Minister thinks she can talk her way out of a tourism cliff dive without a shred of evidence to back up her claims that everything is fine. The reality is everyone Googles the destination they are looking to go to and if it’s unsafe they go elsewhere.”

“The impacts of crime were continuously batted away by the Minister often passing the buck to her Department. If Labor’s Tourism Minister can’t see the correlation with crime and the NT missing out in a competitive market, what hope can the industry have in her?”

“Even over the weekend just gone, the Finke Desert Race had the highest vacancy rate in Alice on record for that period, yet the Minister sat there and spoke about Central Australian operators having a great season, but she couldn’t name even one.”

“Despite the Minister using every opportunity since the Labor budget was handed down to spruik the $35million to ‘market harder’, she continued to refer questions on the breakdown of these funds to the Department.”

“Interestingly, one of the only solutions the Minister named was using shows like MasterChef, The Bachelor and Married at First Sight to bring back tourists to the NT, yet she could not name how much taxpayers were paying to these TV channels. Perhaps the Minister likes reality TV so much as she herself likes to edit the reality that is facing the NT.” Ms Boothby said.

So far the Opposition has uncovered:

  • The Minister would not take any responsibility for the impact Labor’s inaction on crime was having on decimating our tourism industry.
  • Tourism Australia ranks Destination Safety high for choosing a holiday destination, but the Government continues to say this comes well after other factors.
  • No breakdown of the $35million of the ‘market harder’ spend could be provided.
  • No budget allocation could be provided to current tourism campaigns like Vivid Sydney or how many tourists would be expected from the campaign.
  • Individual campaigns are not tracked on their own, tourism is only reported quarterly.
  • No specific modelling is done to look at the impact of crime on tourism, it is only as part of general surveying.
  • The Minister named the Aboriginal Art Gallery as a tourism investment for Alice Springs that would drive tourism despite not having one shovel in the ground for 7 years.
  • The Tourism Minister did not have any tourism figures after December last year, despite media reporting drops in visitation in the last 6 months.
  • The Tourism Minister has not even contacted the Prime Minister recently to lobby for a better deal on flights into the Territory, despite acknowledging the importance of these Federal conversations.

“I am sure the tourism operators watching today would be baffled and angry when listening to the Labor Tourism Minister telling them it’s all going well, a direct contradiction to what they’re experiencing on the ground. This Government continues to show, they’re out of touch, out of ideas and just not listening,” said Ms Boothby.

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