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Territory concerned tourists will never ever -

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ELEANOR HALL: Tourism operators in Australia's Top End are warning that the Global Financial Crisis
is about to swamp them.

Tourism is the Northern Territory's second largest industry and tourism operators say they are
concerned the volatility overseas will mean a big drop in numbers until the world economy
stabilises.

But the industry is hopeful that the lower Australian dollar will encourage Australians who were
heading overseas to instead become tourists inside their own country.

Iskhandar Razak reports from Darwin.

ISKHANDAR RAZAK: It's the start of the Big Wet in the Top End, spelling the end of the traditional
tourism season.

This year the crowds have been here in force and the last stragglers are yet to leave.

TOURIST: I like Darwin. We go to the Kimberley's, to the Kakadu National Park, to the Litchfield
National Park and (inaudible) and here is a good place to start.

ISKHANDAR RAZAK: One in Eight Territorians works in Tourism and it's been a bumper year. Latest
figures show occupancy rates in holiday accommodation have gone up 27 per cent in Katherine, 23 per
cent for Kakadu, and five per cent for Darwin and Alice Springs.

But with markets crumbling overseas and fears of a global recession Tourism NT's chief executive
Maree Tetlow says she's now expecting a drop in international visitors.

MAREE TETLOW: Oh absolutely look, confidence in the financial markets have an impact on the
consumer. People that we have spoken to anecdotally are already indicating that they will curtail
their travel activities over the next few months and potentially longer. Similarly we don't how
long this couldl last and when the confidence will return obviously it relates to people's
employment and their confidence in relation to their ongoing employment as well as their
discretionary income.

ISKHANDAR RAZAK: Debbie Turner manages a popular backpacker hostel in Darwin and has worked in the
tourism industry for 16 years.

She says a drop in international tourists will have big repercussions.

DEBBIE TURNER: The Asian market still isn't hugely strong for Darwin. It is in Cairns, Darwin we're
still trying to grow that market. Australians has grown but it is still nowhere near that of
Europeans like our European market is obviously our strongest market.

ISKHANDAR RAZAK: But she also says a low Australian dollar compared to the Euro, US dollar and the
Asian currencies could also be a positive.

DEBBIE TURNER: Basically I think it just depends on how bad it really gets. We might get more
Australians visiting their own country because it's not worth them going anywhere apart from Asia.
Asia will probably do well out of people like us. And that's where Europeans do better out of
people like us because our dollar's lower for them. So they're getting more for their money, so
people are always still going to travel but it depends on I guess if more airlines start going
broke, if airline prices go up again, yes that's one thing we have to worry about and it is. It's
basically a wait and see situation.

ISKHANDAR RAZAK: On the streets tourists say Australia is a destination they want to come back to,
but the rising cost of visiting and the global economic situation is already having an impact.

MARILYN COLLINS: The cost is much higher than we had thought it would be, we are staying sometimes
in hostels because they are a little bit cheaper and we can spend more on tours that way but still
it is pretty expensive compared to the United States.

TOM COLLINS: I think what is happening now is going to last for a while and I think it is going to
affect all manner of business including tourism.

The financial situation's gonna hit all countries it's global and there's one word called "greed"
and that's why we're here today.

MARILYN COLLINS: That's not why we're here in Darwin.

TOM COLLINS: That's not why we're here in Darwin. That's why the world is where it's at today and
we need to get on top of that.

ELEANOR HALL: That's American tourist Tom Collins, talking to Iskhandar Razak in Darwin.