Bruce Munro's popular Field of Light installation has been in place at Ayers Rock since 2016.

Voyages Field of Light 1

Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC), has announced its results for FY2015-16 with Ayers Rock Resort achieving record occupancy, underlining the strong and sustained turn-around in the financial performance of the Resort, HM can reveal today (Oct 5).

In a statement released to HM, the organisation said “Indigenous employment at Ayers Rock has grown strongly with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff now representing more than one in three of the workforce”.

“Driven by a consistent strategy of targeted capital investment, enhancement of guest experience, an emphasis on Indigenous employment, training and cultural tourism and effective marketing strategies, Ayers Rock Resort has regained its place at the forefront of Australian tourism with a resort experience now befitting the iconic destination of Uluru – Australia’s spiritual heart,” Voyages said.

Voyages Field of Light 2

“Ayers Rock Resort achieved record levels of business in 2015-16, with over 200,000 room nights sold, equating to resort-wide occupancy of 82.5% for the year, up from 74.4% in the previous year and continuing the strong recovery since 2014. All major markets experienced strong growth this year with the launch of Bruce Munro’s Field of Light Uluru in April 2016 proving hugely popular.

“Total revenues grew by 13.4% to $140.6m driven by the increase in occupancy and supported by additional revenues from Field of Light touring and food & beverage activities. Revenues have increased by a compound average growth rate of 10% since 2013 driven by consistent growth in visitor numbers to the resort.

“Earnings Before Interest, Taxation, Depreciation and Amortisation (EBITDA) for the Resort operations increased by $7m or 35%, to reach $27m for the year. This represents a conversion of incremental revenues to profit in excess of 40%. EBITDA as a percentage of revenue increased from 16.1% to 19.3% and Resort EBITDA has more than doubled since 2013,” Voyages said.

Andrew Williams Voyages CEO

Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia’s Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Williams, said he was thrilled with the results.

“We are extremely pleased with the 2015-16 results which underline the significant turnaround in performance of the Resort over recent years and the effectiveness of Voyages industry-leading Indigenous employment and training programs,” he said.

“In a sometimes challenging environment, Voyages has steadfastly pursued its strategy of rejuvenating Ayers Rock Resort through substantial capital investment, development of innovative guest activities and events, effective marketing and enabling our guests to experience the richness and diversity of Indigenous cultures.

“The strong financial performance and positive outlook for the Resort will enable Voyages to continue to invest in improving the guest experience and creating opportunities for Indigenous Australians in cultural tourism,” he said.

Uluru Voyages stars

Williams said key highlights on the Indigenous training and employment side included:
-Total Indigenous employment increased from 262 to 309 this year, representing 35% of the Resort’s total workforce;
-Over 200 trainees have now graduated from the National Indigenous Training Academy, many staying on to take up full time employment at the Resort, with others continuing their careers in hospitality with industry partners;

-More than 50 of the Resort’s Indigenous workforce are now in supervisor and manager level positions. Voyages is focused on developing future Indigenous leaders and offering career pathways, both within the Resort and through its industry networks; and

-Local community employment and business development are supported through structured employment programs and engagement of local communities in cultural activities and the supply of arts and crafts.

James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management