Parks Australia is planning to increase the cost of entering Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park by up to 52 per cent, a week after Uluru was permanently closed to climbers.
The new fees will come into effect from 1 November 2020, according to an email Parks Australia sent tourism operators.
In the email, which was seen by the ABC, an adult three-day pass will rise from $25 to $38 and annual adult passes will increase from $32.50 to $50.
Children, motorcycles and Yulara residents will be able to enter the park free of charge, but annual car entry for NT-registered vehicles will increase from $65 to $109.
Parks Australia said the price had not risen in 16 years and was in line with inflation, the ABC reported.
But Tourism Central Australia CEO Stephen Schwer questioned why prices hadn’t steadily grown.
“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," he said, also flagging operators’ small margins.
“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.”
Parks Australia’s Karl Dyason said the cost of managing the park had increased in that time.
"We need to be responsible economic managers of the park and ensure we have the funds to maintain Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park into the future," he explained.
"It costs an adult $98 per day to visit Kilimanjaro National Park, $98 per day to visit Machu Picchu and an annual pass for the Grand Canyon National Park is $96 - almost double the cost of Uluru's new annual park use fee."
According to the email, 25 per cent of the increased revenue would go to Uluru-Kata Tjuta's Traditional Owners.
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