The official Opposition in the Northern Territory has questioned a decision by the territory Government to award a tourism marketing contract to a UK company at a time when most international travel is in limbo due to the pandemic.
An agreement with UK-based company Emotive Travel Marketing concluded this month is for a two-year contract at a minimum cost of $187,000 per year for scaled-down tourism representation in the United Kingdom and Germany during the pandemic.
Contract may ramp up at a later date
When holiday travel resumes between Europe and Australia, the contract allows for servicing levels to expand to other European countries, including France and Italy, at a cost of around $600,000 per year.
But the Opposition has questioned the expenditure at a time when the NT government is in debt and foreign tourists are not coming.
“Now the Gunner Labor Government’s plan is to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars we don’t have, marketing international travel to people who can’t come,” said deputy opposition leader, Gerard Maley.
Department says there is a rationale
“If there’s a rational explanation for this, I’d love to hear it,” he added.
However, the Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade in the NT says there is, indeed, a logical justification for the expenditure.
“It’s important to give the Northern Territory a presence across our main source markets in Europe where the in-market team will be focussed on awareness activities, trade training and engagement,” the department said in a statement.
Kick-start a quick recovery strategy
“[The contract ensures] we have plans in place to kick-start a quick recovery strategy with our key partners across aviation, trade, media and consumer direct channels when the time is right and it is safe for people to once again travel.”
In her own statement, territory tourism minister Natasha Fyles said that when the market does rebound, the agreement would enable the NT to be ready to welcome visitors from these key markets.
Prior to 2020, the territory attracted more than 250,000 international visitors each year.