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Tourism in Australia's Tropical Savannas

Tourists at Nitmiluk

Tourists boat down Katherine Gorge, Nitmiluk

Tourists exploring a cave in the savannas

Exploring caves in the savannas

Australia's tropical savannas are a very popular tourist destination. Most visitors come to the savanna region to experience nature and visit natural places such as Kakadu National Park, Cape York or the Kimberley — and seasonal influx of tourists to the savanna contributes to the temporary population.

The Top End region alone welcomes approximately 904,000 visitors each year, generating an annual income of $982 million1.  As the table below shows, 74% of visitors to the Top End area are from interstate, staying an average of six days and spending $1123 per person.  However, just 46% of domestic visitors are on holiday, leaving 54% of domestic travellers who visit the Top End for other reasons, such as business trips or visiting relatives.

The remaining International visitors stay an average of 11 days and spend about $858.  Most of these visitors are on holiday.

Tourism NT has identified five new key niche markets for marketing the tourism industry overseas, all focused on appreciation of the natural and cultural values of the Northern Territory.  These include Aboriginal Art Trails, Birdwatching, Aboriginal Music Schools, Environmental Conservation and Wildlife Volunteer Tips3.  This is an indication of the high value of markets which promote conservation of the natural features of the savanna landscape.

In the Kimberley region, visitor surveys found that the three primary motivations for visiting the region were to experience the scenic features, landscape and nature of the North Kimberley as well as drive the Gibb River Road and experience remoteness and wilderness4. Approximately 38,000 people visited the North Kimberley in 2003/4.

Across the border, the North Queensland, Central Queensland, Outback and Townsville regions welcome approximately 1.1 million international visitors and 4.2 million domestic visitors, generating an annual income of about $3,814 million5.

 

 Top End /
Katherine Area 
All Visitors
Holiday Visitors
   

  Domestic

 International

Total

Domestic

International

Total

Overnight visitors ('000)

 786

153

 940

362

128

491

Nights ('000)

4.773

1.634

6.407

2.283

991

3.273

Spend ($m)

 883

131

1.014

   

NT Contribution

    Visitor (%)

74%  

4%

66%

72%

40%

59%

    Nights (%)

70%

 56%

66%

68%

46%

59%

Average length stay (nights)

6.1

10.7

6.8

6.3

7.7

6.7

Average spend p/visitor ($)

1.123

858

1.079




Average spend p/night ($)

185

80

158




‘The Top End & Katherine Area’ includes Darwin, Kakadu, Arnhem, Katherine and Daly tourism regions.

Vistor Table_fig5

Source: Tourism NT (2007) Northern Territory Regions Snapshot 2006–072

References

1. Tourism NT (2007) Regional Snapshot http://www.tourismnt.com.au/nt/system/galleries/download/NTTC_Research/Regional_Snapshots_04-06.pdf

2. Tourism NT (2007) Northern Territory Regions Snapshot 2006-07 http://www.tourismnt.com.au/nt/system/galleries/download/NTTC_Research/Regional_Snaphot_FY05-07.pdf

3. Tourism NT (2007) Niche Markets, August 2007, http://www.tourismnt.com.au/nt/system/galleries/download/Industry/Niche_News_Aug07.pdf

4. Greiner, R., Larson, S., Herr, A. and Pinger, P. (2005) Independent travellers in the North Kimberley: Benefits, impacts and management challenges. CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, Townsville and Tropical Savannas CRC, Darwin.

5. Tourism Queensland (2007) Snapshot http://www.tq.com.au/shadomx/apps/fms/fmsdownload.cfm?file_uuid=19C31C1B-A274-F420-7372-ED5FFF860525&siteName=tqcorp_06