16 Mar 2016
Chief Minister of the Northern Territory, Minister for Tourism
The Northern Territory's tourism industry is set to receive a major boost with the NT Government investing $5 million into new infrastructure.
The accelerator round comes on the back of this year's highly successful $4.75 million Tourism Infrastructure Development Fund that was so popular with tourism operators it received more than 210 applications for projects worth of total of $15.5 million.
Chief Minister and Tourism Minister Adam Giles said the NT Government's Tourism Infrastructure Development Fund was the largest government investment in tourism infrastructure in the Territory's history.
"As current resources projects taper off, our economy will soon tilt towards tourism as a key driver of growth," he said.
"We need our infrastructure to be ready for this shift, complementing the already outstanding tourism product.
"The $5 million in funding, part of the Government's $100 million 'Boosting our Economy' package, will allow local business to fast-track new projects through an accelerator round of the Tourism Infrastructure Development Fund.
"We know building infrastructure takes time, which is why we are unlocking this funding now to give our hard working tourism businesses and operators a chance to accelerate the growth of their business this year – not in 12 months' or two years' time.
"This additional funding round will harness the momentum and enthusiasm within the industry and ensure the Territory has a suite of quality tourism products and infrastructure."
Mr Giles made the announcement at the Tourism Top End Visitor Information Centre today. He also announced that City of Darwin Cruises was recently successful in receiving a $50,000 grant from the Tourism Infrastructure and Development Fund to fit-out a new vessel that will be ready to take tours during the upcoming Dry Season.
The Northern Territory Government funding will be used to install cushions, all weather clears, electric flush toilet, a BBQ and stove, a large television for video presentations during tours of the Harbour, electrical upgrades including USB charging points, solar panels, and extra underwater lighting that will light up the vessel at night.
City of Darwin Cruises owner Les Reif said the new vessel will replace existing vessels and allow his business to take up to 48 passengers on each tour.
"This funding has been crucial for us to reduce costs and increase premium capacity and will help us get this new Harbour tour on the market this season," he said.
"The fit-out will ensure the tour experience is a premium harbour product providing the creature comforts our guests expect. Our new sailing tour experiences will showcase key harbour points of interest, Darwin's heritage and military history as well as the natural environment and ecology of Darwin Harbour."
The new $5 million acceleration round of funding will see a single grant category of up to $100,000. Projects eligible to be considered include:
To be eligible for the additional round of funding, tourism operators are required to match the Northern Territory Government's contribution for projects over $10,000. The flow on effect of this cost split means local tourism infrastructure will be given a boost of approximately $10 million.
One million dollars of the new funding will be specifically set aside for projects that support the attraction of the Chinese market and the improvement of services on the ground to Chinese travellers.
Mr Reif said he was looking forward to the new round of funding, which will help his business tap into the growing China market.
"We'd like to add pages to our website in Chinese as we feel we have a premium product now that would suit Chinese travellers. Even if we get just a few Chinese travellers here and there throughout the year it will be worth it," he said.
The program will take into account projects which demonstrate use of local suppliers. This supports the Government's Buy Local Plan and aims to ensure flow-on benefits to other local businesses from this investment in the tourism industry.
The Tourism Infrastructure Development Fund is part of the NT Government's plan to drive the development of North Australia and build a $2.2 billion visitor economy by 2020.
Applications are now open and will close on Wednesday 13 April 2016.
Grant guidelines, application forms and more information is available at www.tourismnt.com.au
Media Contact: Scott Whitby 0438 531 583