Entry into Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park could see a dramatic rise, according to proposed changes from Parks Australia.
Just a week after the Uluru climb closed permanently, a Parks Australia spokesman has confirmed to Travel Weekly that fees could rise as much as 52 per cent from 1 November 2020.
Under the new fee structure, children, motorcycles and Yulara residents will be able to enter free of charge, but an adult three-day pass will go from $25 to $38 and annual adult passes will go from $32.50 to $50, with annual vehicle entry for NT-registered vehicles will rise from $65 to $109.
In an email to tour operators, Parks Australia said the price to enter the park had stayed the same for 16 years and the rise is due to inflation.
Tourism Central Australia CEO Stephen Schwer told ABC News that tourism operators were worried about bookings made in advance.
“We’ve got a lot of operators that have got their prices out in the market currently, that have been set on the prices as they are — and those prices are current as far as April 2021,” he said.
“One of the big concerns that we’ve got [is not] steady increases, pretty much everybody accepts those — when a price goes up 52 per cent in one year, that’s when people start to feel the pinch a bit.”
“We have operators who certainly between November and April next year are going to have to be wearing a significant cost per person themselves.”
According to the Parks Australia spokesman, the coast of maintaining the park goes up every year.
“These decisions are always difficult. We are balancing the needs of industry, visitors, park operations and traditional owners,” he said.
“We need to be responsible economic managers of the park and ensure we have the funds to maintain the values of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park into the future.”
The changes will also see commercial tour operators and approved agents who purchase park use fees online will receive a 5 per cent discount.
It is being reported that 25 per cent of the increase would be paid to Uluru-Kata Tjuta’s Traditional Owners.