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Joint Media Release
Greg Hunt MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Flinders
David Tollner MP
Member for Solomon
Senator for the Northern Territory
9 May 2005
There has been an impressive rise in the proportion of locals visiting Kakadu, with one in four visitors now coming from the Territory.
The results of a recent visitor survey were today revealed in a joint announcement by Greg Hunt MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Nigel Scullion and Member for Solomon, David Tollner MP.
Mr Hunt said the rise in local visitor numbers is what the Australian Government had hoped for when it abolished park entry fees late last year.
"It's fantastic to see so many Territorians reconnecting with the park, and rediscovering the World Heritage values in their back yard," Mr Hunt said.
"Park visitor surveys in February and April showed about 26 per cent of visitors were locals. In previous visitor surveys only five per cent of visitors across the year were Territorians.
"This is exactly the outcome Dave Tollner and Nigel Scullion hoped for, and the reason they pushed so hard to remove park entry fees."
Mr Tollner said he was extremely pleased that Territorians are now visiting in greater numbers, because it is really important that Territorians have opportunities to enjoy the beauty of Kakadu.
"We recognised we needed to re-connect locals with Kakadu. It's important Kakadu is enjoyed by the local community as well as interstate and overseas visitors," Mr Tollner said.
"Since the abolition of fees the park has invested in new visitor monitoring equipment.
"This is already helping us to monitor visitor patterns and plan more effectively for the future. We know from our new traffic counter, for example, that we're getting a lot of locals with fishing boats."
The results come on top of Kakadu's best ever visitor satisfaction rating. Senator Scullion said the most recent Northern Territory Tourist Commission survey (for the year ending September 2004) showed that 87 per cent of visitors were 'satisfied to very satisfied' with their Kakadu experience.
"Kakadu is on the up. As the Board's Shared Tourism Vision is progressively rolled out after its February launch, Kakadu will regain its place as an international drawcard," Senator Scullion said.
"The park provides great tourism experiences delivering economic benefits to its traditional owners and the Territory economy.
"Kakadu staff should be congratulated for the hard work they're putting in to making the park a truly memorable experience for locals and tourists alike.
"The welcome that Kakadu's people give to visitors is a very special part of the park's personality."
The latest visitor surveys showed 28 per cent of visitors to Kakadu were from interstate and 46 per cent from overseas.
Mali Stanton (Mr Hunt's office) (02) 6277 2276 or 0405 132 048
David Tollner 0414 690 109
Joe Nyhan (Senator Scullion's Office) (08) 8948 3555 or (02) 6277 3456 or 0408 288 567