Central Australia tourism operators are reporting booking cancellations from across the country after Monday’s A Current Affair program highlighted the crime crisis in Alice Springs, the CLP Opposition says.
CLP spokeswoman for tourism Marie-Clare Boothby said she has spoken to tourism operators who say they have had bookings cancelled in what has become a “public relations disaster”.
She said while the Gunner Government’s $2 million “Seek Different” tourism campaign had received 220,000 views on the Territory tourism YouTube channel, that number was far eclipsed by the more than two million Australians who watched the A Current Affair segment on crime in Alice Springs.
“That’s more than two million people who have now witnessed the Chief Minister’s negligent failures on youth crime,” Ms Boothby said.
“The tourism sector in Central Australia is in damage control. Operators have reported mass cancellations citing community safety as the main reason.
“This is a public relations disaster. With an $8.4 billion dollar budget black hole, the Gunner Labor Government could never find enough money to fund a campaign to offset the damage done to our tourism industry.”
Chief Minister Michael Gunner did not publicly comment on the ACA segment yesterday, citing his child getting sick.
Tourism Minister Natasha Fyles told Mix 104.9 on Tuesday that she had not seen the segment but said the way the community was portrayed was “disappointing” and that the government is “working hard” to address the out of control crime problems.
“We need that community,” she said. “It’s a pivotal service to many remote communities, but it’s also a key tourism location, and to have it perceived through the way it was presented last night, certainly is disappointing.”
Ms Boothby said Mr Gunner’s statement read during the ACA segment was misleading as Mr Gunner stated that there is no presumption of bail for young offenders while the facts show his government introduced legislation to do just that.
“Either Michael Gunner doesn’t understand his own legislation, or he’s deliberately trying to mislead Territorians,” said Ms Boothby.
“We can’t repair the image of Central Australia while we still have rampant crime and swarms of youths on our streets. Reversing Labor’s weak bail laws to address the issue of repeat offending is one way we can start to turn the tide.”
The CLP will introduce stronger bail laws to Parliament when it resumes next week.