During the six months of the year when humidity levels in and around Darwin skyrocket, demand for tours with local guide Rob Woods’ small ecotourism company plummets.
- Tourism NT wants to increase monsoon tourism in Greater Darwin to make visitation more consistent year-round.
- Good domestic tourism is said to be good during the 2020-21 rainy season, and the examples from Singapore and Bali show that this is possible.
- But experts say a lot of changes will be needed, including more infrastructure, attractions and activities, and better access to parks.
“I would say [there’s] probably a 60-70 percent drop from, say, June and July figures to, say, October,” he said.
“Each carrier will have different statistics on this… but especially with what we do, it’s a big drop.”
Even then, Mr. Woods and his wife Tracy’s company remains one of the busiest Top End travel companies when the monsoon rolls in: it’s one of the relatively few companies that stays open at all.
According to statistics from the Northern Territory Department of Industry, Tourism and Commerce, 396,000 people visited the Greater Darwin region during the wet season in 2019, compared to 512,000 during the dry season – a drop of about 23%.
Due to the decrease in the number of tourists, a large number of travel companies close during the rainy season, while some hotels reduce capacity, and restaurants may close for a month or more.
But this may change soon.
Year-round tourism is needed to increase the number of visitors
NT Tourism tries to smooth out the known seasonality of Top End tourism by increasing the number of visitors during the rainy season.
This is part of a strategy for the Greater Darwin region that aims to increase operator profits, support a more stable workforce, and encourage more investment in the industry.
Scott Lovett, deputy general manager of the tourism department, said that “Changing the perception that Darwin is only worth visiting during the dry season has been key to boosting the industry’s value to $3 billion by 2030 from its current value of $1. $84 billion.”
COVID-tourism in the rainy season opens up new opportunities
While international tourism to North Carolina dried up during the pandemic, as elsewhere, the relatively COVID-free jurisdiction briefly became a popular destination for domestic travelers, including during the rainy season.
Even with no foreign tourists and some border controls in place, Greater Darwin recorded 195,000 visitors during the 2020-2021 rainy season, with several businesses, including Mr Woods’s, reporting more than usual…