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Tourism in the Northern Territory

The Northern Territory is unlike anywhere else in the world. It’s a place of rich Indigenous culture. It’s home to one of Australia’s most iconic symbols, Uluru. And it’s the setting for one-of-a-kind experiences amid incredible natural beauty, from the tropical top end to the Red Centre outback. Many of these unique natural and cultural experiences are found in the territory’s network of parks and reserves.

The Northern Territory’s tourism and hospitality industry means big business. It’s a cornerstone of the NT economy and its largest employing industry.

The NT tourism industry

  • employs 15,600 people (11.8% of workers)
  • A$2.2 billion GVA

There’s an amazing trajectory of growth in areas like  Indigenous tourism, cruises, business events, education, luxury and adventure tourism. Visitors love to drive the highways and back roads or cruise coastlines and rivers, exploring the length and breadth of the Territory. The NT is largely undeveloped and that means a wealth of untapped opportunity. Enterprising businesses with a vision can not only create unique and engaging adventure experiences, but launch new ways to support visitors finding and engaging their travel passions, through new customer experience technology for hotels, to wayfinding technology or the latest in the design of remote, outdoor accommodation.

Incentives, grants and support

Bring or build your tourism business in  the Northern Territory and you could qualify for a range of government grants and assistance programs, including funding to help you attract staff and commercialise new products or services.

The Darwin Innovation Hub is home to the Northern Territory’s leading startup and business growth ecosystem, and counts tourism businesses among its members. The Hub has grants available through its Entrepreneurs Programme to help eligible applicants grow their business, while its Northern Territory Angel Network gives entrepreneurs access to angel investment funding from across the Territory and the Asia-Pacific region.

Tourism operators are assisted through Tourism Top End and Tourism Central Australia, the Northern Territory’s Regional Tourism Organisations. These membership-based associations support the tourism sector with business development, capacity building, networking events and advocacy.

Case studies

  • Darwin enjoys a wonderful tropical climate but while the coastal waters look inviting, natural residents like jelly fish and crocodiles prohibit locals and visitors alike from enjoying the beaches. Solution – the Bundilla Beach Integrated Precinct, a unique public space enhancement project on council-owned (City of Darwin) coastal land on the Darwin Harbour. The City of Darwin is pursuing private investment for the development of a substantive recreational facility, such as a man-made surf facility, on the 200,000 m2 site. Alongside the man-made surf facility, investors could consider:
    • development of a surf-club hospitality style facility with additional small outdoor eateries and cafés
    • development of park lands, playgrounds and open green space
    • a resort style accommodation.