Tourists should be allowed to climb Uluru, says the Northern Territory's chief minister, likening the practice to the Sydney Harbour Bridge climb, and saying increased regulation could have major economic benefits.

Adam Giles supports tourists climbing the Australian landmark, and has rejected any decision by the federal Government to permanently ban the activity, which it has said it will consider doing if climber numbers fell below 20 per cent of Uluru's visitor tally.

Local Anangu people do not like tourists scaling the sacred site, but have not banned it.

"The Anangu, of course, feel a great spiritual connection to Uluru. They are also concerned ... about safety."


Giles said any decision on a ban should be made by the NT and not by bureaucrats in Canberra.

More than 35 people had died climbing Uluru since the 1950s, mostly of heart failure.

But he argued that with proper safety rules climbing Uluru could become a major tourism experience such as the Sydney bridge climb.

He said Angkor Wat in Cambodia, the Taj Mahal in India and Macchu Picchu in Peru had all successfully combined tourism with culturally sensitive sites.