Northern Territory Government Pledges $12.8 Million to Lure International Travellers and Workers

Northern Territory Government Pledges $12.8 Million to Lure International Travellers and Workers
The border into the Northern Territory from South Australia. Mark Kolbe/Getty Images for The World Solar Challange)
Steve Milne

Australia’s Northern Territory (NT ) Government will invest $12.8 million (US$9.1 million) into attracting international travellers and workers back to the NT after pandemic border closures and restrictions have led to critical skill shortages across the Territory.

The incentives will capitalise on the Federal Government’s recent announcement that international borders will re-open to fully vaccinated travellers on Feb.21, in an attempt to reinvigorate a visitor economy that was worth $2.4 billion (US$1.71 billion) a year to the NT before the pandemic.

In a media release on Monday, Tourism and Hospitality Minister Natasha Fyles said that the re-opening of the international border provides an opportunity for the Territory to introduce new measures to help businesses gain momentum.

Among the measures to be funded is the $2.6 million (US$1.85 million) Working Holiday Maker Campaign and Tourism and Hospitality Turbo Charge, a highly-targeted interstate and overseas marketing campaign to attract around 2,000 new tourism and hospitality workers by April, ensuring businesses can accommodate customers and deliver services.

An international leisure tourism marketing campaign will receive $3 million (US$2.14 million), and work closely with Tourism Australia to target specific markets and support airline partnerships, as well as travel trade activity, while another $3 million will be spent on supporting industry to deliver projects and strategies to attract and retain workforces.

Other measures include the relaunch of the Work Stay Play incentive, through which local hospitality and tourism businesses can apply for up to $1,500 (US$1,070) for each new employee they attract to the Territory for the peak dry season and $1.35 million (US$962,415) to boost the Territory’s skilled migration capacity.

In addition, initiatives are also underway by Study NT to lure international students to the Territory, including a destination awareness marketing campaign in key focus markets.

Chief Minister Michael Gunner said the NT is preparing for the return of international travellers, and businesses need to be ready with adequate workforces.

“We are investing in these programs to put the Territory at the top of every traveller’s list, and link up those who are looking for work with businesses who need staff, he said.

Meanwhile, NT Chair of Tourism Michael Bridge emphasised that gearing up for the Territory’s peak season is more critical this year than ever before, and this investment from the NT Government will be welcomed by the tourism and hospitality sector.

“It will take time to rebuild our international markets and by acting now, the Territory will be able to capitalise on consumer interest and demand and deliver the significant flow on benefits that tourism contributes, supporting jobs and the economy in the NT, “ he said.

According to the latest Deloitte business outlook, the Northern Territory is expected to have the nations fastest economic growth in 2022, with a 6.9 percent increase.

CEO of Tourism Central Australia, Danial Rochford, welcomed news of the funding with a post on Linkedin.

“Great news to start the week with the Northern Territory Government announcing an important (and much needed) support package to get tourism back on track,” he said.

Steve is an Australian reporter based in Sydney covering sport, the arts, and politics. He is an experienced English teacher, qualified nutritionist, sports enthusiast, and amateur musician. Contact him at [email protected].
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