Tourism numbers up in NW
More than $1.4 billion has been spent by tourists in the North West in the past year as domestic visitor numbers, nights stayed and expenditure all increased, according to the latest Tourism Research Australia data.
The Coral Coast, which includes the North West Cape grew as well, with about 951,000 Australian tourists spending $638 million in the region.
The annual National Visitor Survey produced by TRA showed more than 1.24 million domestic travellers visited the North West, up 8 per cent on last year.
The North West was ranked eighth in Australia for nights spent in the region, and visitors spent an average of $124 a night while here.
Australia’s Coral Coast has overtaken the Golden Outback as WA’s third-biggest tourist magnet behind Perth and the South West for day trips. Premier and Tourism Minister Colin Barnett said it was “wonderful” to see West Australians embracing their own State.
He said the survey also showed strong increases across the interstate market, with increases across all three measures in the 12 months to June 2016. “While we should view the increases with some caution because of the relatively small sample size, these are significant results given interstate travel has been one of our weaker performing markets of late and a welcome positive reversal,” he said.
Durack MHR Melissa Price said the survey showed tourism continued to drive jobs and growth.
“This is great news for the local economy and local jobs,” she said.
“It is fantastic people are choosing our beautiful region to visit and spend their money.”
Ms Price said the growth trajectory was projected to continue in the tourism industry for the next decade.
Australian Hotels Association WA chief executive Bradley Woods said regional areas were receiving a much-needed increase in visitors.
“Locals are choosing to explore WA — whether that’s with trips to the South West, the Coral Coast or adventures in the Golden Outback, they realise there’s lots to see and do right here at home,” he said.
Mr Woods said destination marketing was crucial to ensure sustained growth in visitor numbers.
Tourists take in the views from the Vlamingh Head lighthouse lookout on the North West Cape.