Tourism body calls for $50 million rescue package to rebrand troubled Alice Springs

tourism body calls for $50 million rescue package to rebrand troubled alice springs

Tourism in Alice Springs is suffering following antisocial behaviour. (ABC Alice Springs: Emma Haskin)

Alice Springs' reputation as a tourist destination has been overshadowed by crime and antisocial behaviour that has been plaguing the region for several years.

The region's tourism peak body is calling on the territory and federal governments for a coordinated $50 million tourism rescue package to help a struggling industry.

Tourism Central Australia (TCA) CEO Danial Rochford said the industry was hurting with more than $20 million in cancellations after the Todd Tavern riot footage made national headlines.

"Our brand has been immeasurably damaged as a result of the challenges that we've had to face over the past few years," Mr Rochford said.

Mr Rochford said the package would include money to revitalise the industry, fund regional events, a rebrand request, and workforce support.

"The industry is beyond discount programs and vouchers," he said.

"We need to have some significant funds to really re-energise and revitalise this industry.

"A big part of it is also significant funds for a major investment fund to try to stimulate the tourism industry."

Tourism rebrand options

Tourism Crises and Destination Recovery author David Beirman said he was aware of the situation in Central Australia.

He said it was vital to accentuate the positives of the region while not shying away from the town's challenges.

"There are friendly people there, there are terrific experiences to be had," Dr Beirman said.

"By inserting within that message a few preventative measures to minimise tourists' exposure to crime would also be a very good idea."

Dr Beirman said it was important to address what has actually been done about crime.

Dr Beirman said there were a number of strategies that could help the region.

One of those was to roll out a community-based tourism police program.

"They have two roles. Firstly, they're there as sort of guides and helpers to visitors in a town," Dr Beirman said.

"They wear a uniform, which says police, which is often a deterrent for people who might be criminals, even though these guys and women don't have power of arrest.

"But they do show a visible concern about tourism safety, which is important, and they usually don't cost communities very much at all."

Having worked closely with the then-crime-affected communities of Trinidad and Tobago in 2006, Dr Beirman said he took an inclusive approach to the issues.

"We ran some courses in conjunction with the Trinidad and Tobago tourism ministry, for every single person working in the tourism industry, and the Minister of Tourism actually participated in the course, which was really good," he said.

"It actually showed that not only did the industry care, but the government cared as well.

"What we did over a period of a week was give them some tips about how best the tourism businesses could work with police forces and other emergency services."

Dr Beirman said brand ambassadors with "street credibility" could also help reinvigorate a region.

"I was involved in the recovery of Nepal after the earthquake, which was not crime. But there were three brand ambassadors who worked very well," he said.

"One of them was Prince Harry and he was fantastic. Another was Jackie Chan, who was appealing to the Chinese market.

"And the third one was Susan Sarandon, who was appealing to the American market."

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