More tourists but to­tal spend­ing falls

Pilbara News - - News - Tom Zaun­mayr

■ The North West ex­pe­ri­enced the big­gest fall in in­ter­na­tional tourism spend­ing and nights stayed in Aus­tralia, de­spite an in­crease in trav­ellers to the re­gion.

Tourism Re­search Aus­tralia’s 2014-15 In­ter­na­tional Vis­i­tor Sur­vey re­vealed ex­pen­di­ture plum­meted more than 35 per cent and nights stayed dropped by about 23 per cent in the year to Septem­ber.

The sur­vey showed about 4000 more tourists vis­ited the North West, but stayed in the re­gion for a to­tal of about 500,000 fewer days.

In­ter­na­tional back­packer num­bers also dropped by about 2000 to 16,000.

Spend­ing by in­ter­na­tional tourists was down from $120 mil­lion in 2013-14 to $77 mil­lion in 2014-15.

Pil­bara Re­gional Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive Tony Fri­day pointed out the fall in spend­ing could be at­trib­uted to less busi­ness travel be­cause of the min­ing down­turn.

“Ob­vi­ously we would like to main­tain that level of busi­ness visi­ta­tion seen through the con­struc­tion cy­cle, but at the end of the day the Pil­bara’s loss is the rest of the coun­try’s gain,” he said.

“The busi­ness visi­tors make a strong con­tri­bu­tion to the ac­com­mo­da­tion and some hos­pi­tal­ity providers, but what they don’t tend to do is be strong con­trib­u­tors to the tourism ser­vices op­er­a­tors and fa­cil­i­ties.

“Those op­er­a­tors are be­ing bet­ter sup­ported by the do­mes­tic drive mar­ket.”

Mr Fri­day said Pil­bara tourism op­er­a­tors were a “re­silient bunch”, hav­ing been through many ups and downs over the past decade.

Du­rack MP Melissa Price said strong growth in do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional visi­tors was ex­pected for the tourism in­dus­try in the com­ing years.

“In WA, do­mes­tic vis­i­tor num­bers for are ex­pected to in­crease by 2.9 per cent an­nu­ally to reach 50.2 mil­lion by 2024-25,” she said.

“Sim­i­lar strong growth is ex­pected for in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tor num­bers which are ex­pected to in­crease 5 per cent per year to reach 47.4 mil­lion in 2024-25.

“Th­ese fore­casts paint a pos­i­tive pic­ture about the fu­ture of tourism in Aus­tralia and will pro­vide fur­ther con­fi­dence to our lo­cal tourism in­dus­try.”

Ms Price said the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment was fo­cused on con­tin­u­ing to grow the tourism sec­tor for the fu­ture.

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