31 May 2016
Chief Minister of the Northern Territory, Minister for Tourism
Arnhem Land is set to receive a major boost as a tourism destination with the Northern Territory Government providing several infrastructure grants for projects in the region.
Chief Minister and Tourism Minister Adam Giles visited Ramingining yesterday to inspect the recently constructed 12 luxury safari tents at Murwangi Safari Camp, owned by Outback Spirit.
The safari tents will accommodate tour groups travelling overland through Arnhem Land from Nhulunbuy to the Cobourg Peninsula.
"Arnhem Land is a hidden gem and arguably the last untouched area of Australia, which is why the Country Liberals Government is taking an active role in helping communities in the region to embrace new opportunities in industries like tourism," Mr Giles said.
Almost $300,000 has been provided through tourism infrastructure grants for three Arnhem Land projects.
"We've previously announced a $100,000 grant for Murwangi Safari Camp by the NT Government from the $4.75 million Tourism Infrastructure Development Fund," Mr Giles said.
"Outback Spirit has renovated the existing homestead into a restaurant, with state-of-the-art kitchen facilities."
In addition to Murwangi Safari Camp, Outback Spirit Tours have received assistance through the Tourism Infrastructure Development Fund's $5 million Accelerator Program:
Seven Spirit Bay recently upgraded 12 existing accommodation rooms to have ensuite bathrooms, a project supported with $200,000 under the Australia Government's Tourism Demand-Driver Infrastructure program.
"These upgrades will be ready to welcome an anticipated influx of visitors into the area in next year's dry season," Mr Giles said.
"These new developments are an integral part of a new regional tour that's now offered by the business – the '12 Day Arnhem Land Wilderness Adventure' with ongoing employment and training opportunities, and flow-on economic opportunities for businesses created as a result.
"Outback Spirit's investment has resulted in 11 Indigenous tour guiding positions, boosting the economy and creating jobs for locals.
"The upgrades to services on offer through Outback Spirit Tours is expected to have a flow-on effect to overall tourism in Arnhem Land, with an additional 1200 visitors expected through the area as part of tour groups in this dry season alone."
Courtney Ellis, director of Outback Spirit, said his business' total investment in Arnhem Land amounted to more than $13 million to upgrade and build the lodges and camp and it was heartening that the NT Government supported that investment.
"This grant money is essentially reassurance for businesses like ours that the NT Government is supporting tourism in the Northern Territory," Mr Ellis said.
Mr Giles said the $4.75 million Tourism Infrastructure Development Fund, along with the $5 million announced in the 2016 Budget, was the largest Government tourism grant program in the Territory's history.
This initiative is part of the Country Liberals' plan to drive the development of Northern Australia and build a $2.2 billion visitor economy by 2020.
Media contact: Joss Papworth 0418 979 633