Connectivity central to helping NT tourism
When your members hail from an area spanning more than one million square kilometres, unsurprisingly, connecting with them can be a challenge.
In turn, helping connect those members with their customers – tourists – can be an even bigger one.
Welcome to the hardworking world of Tourism Central Australia (TCA).
A not-for-profit industry group based in Alice Springs in the Northern Territory, TCA represents the interests of tourism operators across an area about eight-times the size of England.
In simple terms, TCA lobbies for adequate funding for Central Australian tourism and its operators, also helping to promote some of the most iconic destinations in Australia and the world. Think Kings Canyon, Uluru, and the Devils Marbles.
“It can be really challenging for us from a staffing point of view,” says TCA’s CEO Stephen Schwer, “trying to service such a large area and making sure we are representing the interests of all of our members.”
Central to innovation
TCA has a physical presence in Alice Springs, where it also manages a tourism information centre.
Innovation has been a key to TCA’s success and, says Stephen, the recent arrival of the nbn™ broadband access network is helping to enable creative solutions that simply did not exist previously.
The nbn™ access network has also helped TCA reduce its operating costs and revolutionise internal communications, says Stephen.*
“What we’ve been able to do is become a lot more mobile in terms of our IT solutions and services.
“Moving to [the] nbn™ [access network] has already saved thousands in IT and phone costs, and improved the way we operate.
“It’s allowed us to move to VOIP calling and video conferencing, which for a business like ours – where we clearly can’t conduct all of our meetings in person – has been significant.
“The availability of VOIP calling and conferencing has been great for internal communication, when people are working remotely, and that has reduced our phone bills significantly.
“[The] nbn™ [access network] has also allowed us to employ a staff member who works remotely. She is in another state and, because we’ve now got everything in the cloud, she can access everything via the web.
“She can also do face-to-face VOIP conferencing with us. What that means is that we have retained a talented staff member and her skills in our business.”
Revolutionising the bush
In addition to helping TCA, Stephen says the nbn™ Sky Muster™ satellite service is playing a significant role in helping tourism operators in some of the most remote parts of Australia to promote themselves, improve efficiencies and grow.
“One of the challenges the Territory has had is the patchy availability of the internet,” he says.
“The availability of [the nbn™ Sky Muster™] satellite to our remote members is certainly starting to have a positive impact.
“In the tourism industry, we have various distribution systems, which are all online. The internet is the basis of the tourism industry from guide apps to booking systems to financial systems.
“It’s really good to be able to see remote business[es] now having more and more internet [connectivity] through [nbn™ Sky Muster™].”