By Pauline Askin
SYDNEY, Aug 19 (Reuters Life) - How about some UFOs with your holiday? An Australian photographer and self-styled alien hunter believes the country's north is a hotspot for unexplained aerial activity, and the tourism association is not discouraging him.
Alan Ferguson believes the vast Northern Territory state has more than its share of unidentified flying objects that could one day rival more established tourist attractions at Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks.
"All these years I've been sitting watching these things and thought: 200,000 people a year go to Roswell in the U.S. to see a museum, why wouldn't you entice people to come here, to see the real thing," Ferguson told Reuters.
Roswell, in New Mexico, is home to the Roswell UFO Museum, which is dedicated to the July 1947 crash of a flying object northwest of the city. UFO proponents believe that object was an alien ship but the U.S. military says materials recovered near the site were from an experimental surveillance craft.
Ferguson has been taking photographs in the Northern Territory for years and says he has seen many UFOs over the last 5 years. While he acknowledges 80 percent of these sightings are likely due to military exercises at nearby bases, he says the rest cannot be accounted for.
"I've seen hundreds of these vehicles. They're a very, very light grey and have a black center and when they stop they wobble from side to side, no way do the come from here," he said.
Ferguson recently provided a video, aired on national television, which he says proves his case. The segment is now posted on the Internet.
Ferguson suggested his idea of promoting UFO-watching holidays to Tourism Top End (www.mytourismtopend.com.au), the region's tourist association, which provides a link to his website without actually endorsing it.
"It's been amazing, there's a huge amount of interest," Top End Tourism President Sylvia Wolf told Reuters.
"But the thing is, with UFOs, you don't know when they're going to be there, so if you take a busload of people out there and then nothing, what do you say to the tourists? Have another drink, you might see something?"