Region turns focus
For years, the Pilbara’s red rock landscapes and pristine coastline have been overshadowed by the resources industry.
But the drop in iron ore prices means heads are now turning to ways to tap into the region’s tourism potential.
Speaking at last month’s New Pilbara Conference in Perth, business leaders agreed the region had a great opportunity to market its natural wonders, including Karijini National Park, Murujuga National Park and its rich Aboriginal arts and culture.
Pilbara MP and Nationals Leader Brendon Grylls, the architect of the Royalties for Regions program set up in 2008 to funnel riches from the boom back into regional areas, said the Pilbara’s desire to diversify its industry was in the spotlight.
Pilbara Development Commission chief executive Terry Hill labelled tourism a game-changing opportunity for the region.
“It’s identified as a transformational opportunity in the Pilbara Regional Investment Blueprint as a major source of local employment that will stimulate regional growth,” he said.
“For every dollar spent in tourism at hotels, restaurants and tours, more than 80¢ stays in the regional economy.”
Town of Port Hedland Mayor Camilo Blanco said tourism presented the perfect opportunity for economic diversification.
“We support local businesses and want to see local entrepreneurs start up their own tourism services and we’ll do everything we can to get it off the ground,” he said.