Voyages Indigenous Tourism’s Ayers Rock Resort re-opens on August 1

by James Wilkinson

Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia’s popular Ayers Rock Resort is set to re-open on Saturday, August 1, 2020, following the announcement by Northern Territory’s Chief Minister, Michael Gunner, that border restrictions will cease on July 17.

The move follows the re-introduction of Jetstar flights direct from Sydney and Melbourne in August and September respectively, and a new look resort will greet guests when they arrive.

During the recent closure, Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia brought forward the completion of an extensive AUD$50 million refurbishment of Ayers Rock Resort and improvements to the airport infrastructure.

Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia CEO, Grant Hunt, said this encompassed extensive upgrades at the five-star Sails in the Desert including all guest rooms and suites, the lobby, pool and restaurant, as well as the completion of upgrades to The Lost Camel, and the replacement of toilet blocks and bathrooms in the popular Campground.

Upgrades to the airport infrastructure include new screening areas making it easier for guests to clear security and start their holidays.

Hunt said Ayers Rock Resort was thrilled to be welcoming guests back in August, which was for stays at the Sails in the Desert Hotel, The Lost Camel Hotel, Emu Walk Apartments and the Ayers Rock Resort Campground.

“We are looking forward to welcoming guests back to the spiritual heart of our country and showcasing the work we have done at the resort in their absence,” he said.

“This is the perfect time for Australians to get out and explore our amazing landscapes including the vast central desert, iconic Uluru and Kata-Tjuta as well as experiencing the important Indigenous cultural stories shared by the Traditional Owners of our land.”

Hunt said during their stay, visitors can enjoy the 50,000 stems of Bruce Munro’s spectacular Field of Light installation, dine under the stars at Sounds of Silence or indulge in a four-course table d’hôte menu at the award-winning Tali Wiru.

An extensive range of activities including helicopter rides, segway tours, camel rides and dot painting in and around Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park also will be available.

Around the resort, guests can take part in free activities including bush tucker demonstrations, guided garden walks, didgeridoo workshops and traditional bush yarns.

On the dining front, popular dining spots including Ilkari Restaurant, Walpa Bar, Geckos Café and Indigenous trainee-run Kulata Academy Café, which will be open with dine-in and takeaway alternatives.

Hunt said the vast landscape of Central Australia already lends itself to social distancing but for the additional safety of guests and staff, Ayers Rock Resort will be implementing strict hygiene measures such as:
-Regular deep cleaning of rooms and public spaces using hospital grade cleaning materials;
-Additional screening of guests arriving into the airport;
-Isolation/quarantine areas on site which can be activated as needed;
-Reduced tour group sizes and agreed health safety programs with all on-site transport and touring companies;
-Comprehensive safety and hygiene training for all staff including mandatory infection control training for COVID-19;
-Enhanced food preparation standards with mandatory PPE requirements for employees; and
-24/7 in-room dining available at some hotels.

He said Voyages was also communicating regularly with Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and Mutitjulu management to ensure that all necessary precautions are being taken to protect the local Indigenous community, located some 30km from the resort.

Additionally, Hunt said a new guest centric mobile application has been developed to provide a contactless experience. Not only will the app give greater peace of mind to guests, but it will also allow them to manage and own their stay by serving as a virtual concierge pre, during and post arrival.

He said guests will be able to check in prior to arrival, order in-room dining, and plan their tours, activities, spa and dining activities from the moment they book their stay at Ayers Rock Resort. In addition, human and AI-driven chatbot technology will be integrated within the app to provide guests with real-time answers to any questions they have about their holiday experience.

Special rates are now available (including special offers for stays of 2-, 3- and 4- or more nights with discounts of up to 50%) to book now for travel from August 1, 2020, including return airport transfers, in-room WiFi, free guest activities and free use of the resort shuttle service.