NT tourism taskforce set up to kick start recovery

The Northern Territory has established a new task force to help the tourism sector rebound following the Covid-19 shutdown.

The NT economy is losing at least $200 million each month after the tourism industry “ground to a halt”, the head of the NT’s new Tourism Rebound Taskforce said.

Michael Bridge said the sector would need at least three months to get up to speed once the restrictions on domestic or international travel were lifted.

“There’s a few things we need to ensure and consider … (one being) tourism can’t just bounce back on two to four weeks notice,” he told the NT News.

“One of our challenges is when (travel) restrictions lift in four to six months, we are coming into the low season.”

Bridge, who is also Tourism NT’s chair of the board of commissioners, is joined on the taskforce by AAT Kings Group CEO Matthew Cameron-Smith; Tourism & Transport Forum CEO Margy Osmond; Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia CEO Grant Hunt; Darwin Convention Centre GM Peter Savoff; and Discovery Parks Group COO Michaela Webster.

Australian Tourism Export Council director Denis Pierce, who is also on a national tourism rescue task force launched last week by the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, will also provide extra consultation.

“It is important we work together to prepare for both a national and global rebound, that will result in greater competition than ever before,” Bridge said.

“The Territory needs to come first in our thinking. We need to direct our energies into supporting the sector so they can come out of hibernation mode and get through what will likely be one of our toughest low seasons ever.”