Uluru price hikes coming in 2020
ENTRY fees at Uluru are set to increase by up to 52 per cent next year in a bid to keep up with inflation.
Parks Australia have officially announced that new park use fees for Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park will come into effect on November 1, 2020.
The changes will see the cost of a three-day pass increase from $25 to $38, the annual pass will go up from $32.50 to $50 and the annual vehicle entry for Territory-registered vehicles will go from $65 to $109.
A Parks Australia spokesman said the adult park use fees at Uluru have not changed in almost 16 years and will go up in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
"The costs of managing the park increase every year," he said.
"These decisions are always difficult. We are balancing the needs of industry, visitors, park operations and traditional owners.
"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 new fee structure will also remove the family and children's park use fee for Uluru and extend free entry to those aged under 18 years.
"We're also removing park entry fees for motorcycle riders and Yulara residents," the spokesman said.
"Commercial tour operators and approved sales agents who purchase park use fees online will also receive a five per cent discount."
Tourism Minister Lauren Moss said the Gunner Government "strongly supports" calls from the tourism industry to hold the fee increase until April 2021, to allow local tour operators to adjust their pricing accordingly.
But Uluru tourism operator Scott McMillan from AAT Kings said the price hikes were "no major calamity" for their coach business.
"These increases are not totally unexpected," he said.
"Parks have been talking about this with locals here for the last six months.
"Obviously visitor numbers have been a bit skewed in the last year because of the climb closure but we're not too worried about numbers next year."
Parks figures show Uluru saw an increase of almost 4000 visitors during the month of October this year with a head count of 41,784 compared to 37,798 in October, 2018.
But even after the climb closed on October 26, Mr McMillan said they had been completely booked out.
"There's still plenty of draw for Uluru and I don't think these cost changes will be much of a hit either," he said.