Vis­i­tor boost for Nin­ga­loo

Pilbara News - - News - Tom Zaun­mayr

■ The Nin­ga­loo Coast’s vis­i­tor num­bers have in­creased sig­nif­i­cantly this sea­son, de­spite two cy­clones ear­lier in the year threat­en­ing to scare peo­ple off.

Ex­mouth Vis­i­tor Cen­tre re­ported a 12.98 per cent in­crease in num­bers from April to Oc­to­ber on the same pe­riod last year, a fig­ure spokesman Ben Knaggs partly put down to a speedy re­cov­ery by the Shire of Ex­mouth and Nin­ga­loo com­mu­nity.

“It’s pleas­ing to see visi­ta­tion rates still high this peak sea­son, es­pe­cially since Ex­mouth and Co­ral Bay were hit by two sep­a­rate cy­clones just be­fore the start of our peak sea­son this year,” he said.

“Tur­tle-nest­ing sea­son has just be­gun, co­ral snorkelling and manta ray swim tours are avail­able right through­out the sum­mer and the warmer wa­ter kick-starts some world-class game and sport fish­ing, par­tic­u­larly for mar­lin.”

More than 20,000 vis­i­tors swam with whale sharks from March to Au­gust, an in­crease of more than 7 per cent from last year.

Op­er­a­tors re­ported a 92 per cent suc­cess rate for swim­ming with the gen­tle gi­ants.

Mr Knaggs said new ex­pe­ri­ences next year would in­clude hel­met div­ing, sail­ing tours and the hump­back whale swim trial.

Ex­mouth Es­cape man­ager David Gille­spie said oc­cu­pancy had in­creased by about 2.5 per cent this year and next year was look­ing strong too.

“I think we have seen an in­crease across the board with fam­i­lies, cou­ples, sin­gles, a lot of east­ern se­aboard peo­ple and good growth in the Perth mar­ket,” he said.

“We haven’t had huge growth in the over­seas mar­ket, but visi­ta­tion has from there has been con­sis­tent.”

Mr Gille­spie said he be­lieved the hump­back whale swim trial next year would ex­tend the tourism sea­son and boost num­bers fur­ther.

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