Monday, October 3, 2011

Muscular Aussie dollar puts squeeze on NT tourism

Tourism Top End chief Sylvia Wolf says an Australian dollar kept strong by the minerals boom will continue to put a strain on the tourism industry.

Ms Wolf says even with a good wet season and near-perfect wry season weather the tourism market has suffered from the muscular dollar.

She says the industry is worried about the impact of the carbon tax next year but the dollar has hurt regional tourism the hardest.

"Darwin doesn't suffer that much," she said.

"We have other business, big corporate markets, we have the cruise ships, we've got the conventions.

"The ones that really hurt are the ones down the track.

"The Katherines, the Tennant Creeks and Alice, of course, have not done well this year.

"It has been a tough year."

Meanwhile, Darwin tourism operators say visitors attending the 70th anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin in February should help boost the sector which has faced a slight downturn.

World War II Tours guide Gary Gallagher says he hopes the commemorations on February 19 will draw survivors of the bombing, history buffs, and American tourists because of the US military presence in the Top End in the 1940s.

He says it could be a huge help for operators in what is typically an extremely quiet time.