Tourist numbers are down in the Top End but, in some areas of the Northern Territory, visitors are being warned that mining and exploration boom times can be downright dangerous for travellers.

Darwin Lord Mayor Katrina Fong Lim says government intervention is needed to help revive the Top End's tourism industry.

She says visitor numbers to Darwin this year have fallen and some businesses are struggling to make ends meet.

She says one of the most significant problems continues to be a lack of available holiday accommodation, and that needs to be rectified.

"Hotels are booked, fully booked and a lot [are] actually booked up with people who are working in the city, taking accommodation, tourist accommodation that would normally go to tourists," she said.

The Lord Mayor says she hopes new building developments in the city centre will ease pressure in the future.

"There is a lot of development being planned to try and bring on more housing, more affordable housing," she said.

"Hopefully, that might pick up some of these workers who are flying in.

"It's an indication that the city is developing, and having an economic boom."

Meanwhile, the boom times are also having an effect on roads and highways in the Territory.

Heavy road transport vehicles serving mining and exploration projects have proliferated in some areas, creating hazards for tourists.

One such project has been the transport by miner Sherwin Iron of bulk samples of iron ore from its Roper River site to the Port of Darwin.

As part of its exploration and testing program, up to 24 road trains a day are travelling from the Roper Bar area, about 470 kilometres south-east of Darwin, along the Savannah Way to Mataranka and then on to the Stuart Highway north to the Territory capital.

The company has warned that the road trains will usually be travelling in convoys of four and will be escorted by pilot vehicles.

The convoys will operate for about six months.

As part of the project, the Roper Highway will be progressively upgraded in coming months, but drivers are being warned to take all precautions when travelling in the area.

In particular, all bridges should be approached with caution because of the size of road trains carrying ore.


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