Driv­ing tourism pitch crazy

Albany Advertiser - - OPINION -

I won­der about the san­ity of some peo­ple who try to sell WA to the rest of the world. The lat­est ef­fort is a new cam­paign to sell us as the “Road Trip State”.

The group which this cam­paign al­legedly tar­gets is back­pack­ers on work­ing hol­i­days to whom Tourism Min­is­ter Paul Pa­palia refers to in glow­ing terms.

Ac­cord­ing to the $2.2 mil­lion ad cam­paign, ev­ery route is scenic and tourists can “turn right at delicious or a sharp left at breath­tak­ing”. Wow! The 58sec. ad­ver­tise­ment ends with the slo­gan, “Just an­other day in WA”.

Sounds mar­vel­lous but this com­mer­cial is down­right mis­lead­ing given the vast dis­tances which have to be cov­ered to drive any­where in this beau­ti­ful State of ours.

Al­ready some peo­ple in­volved in the tourist in­dus­try have voiced con­cern over the safety as­pect of en­cour­ag­ing driv­ers from for­eign coun­tries, who gen­er­ally drive on the other side of the road to us, be­ing let loose on our roads where, in some areas of the Kim­berly and Pil­bara they will be com­pet­ing with road trains up to 53.5m in length.

Mr Pa­palia may not be aware that back­pack­ers al­ready tra­verse much of Aus­tralia in hired campers and they are given itin­er­ar­ies which in some cases are un­re­al­is­tic and even dan­ger­ous, given the dis­tances they are en­cour­aged to drive to see all that they want to see.

Back­pack­ers al­ready have a net­work op­er­at­ing on the in­ter­net where in­for­ma­tion is passed around in­clud­ing how they can ob­tain free camp­ing in na­tional parks or how to avoid pay­ing up and other ne­far­i­ous prac­tices.

That they are on work­ing hol­i­days should of­fer a clue that they do not bring a lot of cur­rency into the coun­try and that is one of the rea­sons they seek ca­sual work. So Mr Pa­palia, if this is the de­mo­graphic that you are tar­get­ing, then you are on a hid­ing to noth­ing. I can­not for the life of me see why any government should be tempt­ing fate by en­cour­ag­ing driv­ers from for­eign lands. Send­ing them out to the re­mote areas is down­right crim­i­nal in my view.

Last year a road train driver be­gan a cam­paign to ed­u­cate Aus­tralian grey no­mads on the con­ven­tions needed to safely drive on out­back roads so that they didn’t kill or get killed when try­ing to pass road trains. Mr Pa­palia in his wis­dom is quoted as say­ing he was not wor­ried about for­eign vis­i­tors on re­gional roads.

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