NT plea to visit Uluru as visitor numbers drop


Visitation numbers to Uluru are still down on pre-pandemic levels with Northern Territory Tourism Minister Nicole Manison calling on airlines to do more to support services into the region.

“We want to see more flights, we want to see better prices, we want to make sure Territorians get the services that they deserve,” she said.

Manison also called on Australians to support local communities in the NT by travelling to the region.

Parks Australia data shows year-to-date visitor numbers to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park are 164,678, compared with more than 300,000 in 2017.

Parks Australia also cited “cost and availability of flights, international exchange rates, increased competition as Australians return to overseas travel and the slow return of international visitors” behind the lower numbers.

Currently only Qantas and Jetstar are servicing Yulara Airport.

“Qantas and Jetstar remain committed to flights to and from Uluru, while our major competitor has pulled out of the market,” a Qantas spokesperson told the ABC.

“There are plenty of available seats on the routes we operate to Uluru, but demand is well down on what it was pre-COVID.

“Some of this can be attributed to the slower recovery of international tourism to Australia since the pandemic.

“We are talking to local tourism bodies about how we can both work together to stimulate demand as well as discussing adding extra capacity at the right time.”

Tourism Central Australia chief executive Danial Rochford said the region has seen around a $200 million hole in visitor expenditure.

“That’s $200 million that’s not in the Central Australian tourism industry, that used to be there pre-COVID,” he told the ABC.

“So, we are still very fragile.”