Port tops visi­tor poll

The Sunday Times - - NEWS - TREVOR PADDENBURG

FRE­MAN­TLE has been named the WA cap­i­tal’s top en­ter­tain­ment precinct, while El­iz­a­beth Quay and Scar­bor­ough are well down the list and need more work.

Tourism WA com­mis­sioned the re­search to get a han­dle on the tourism ben­e­fits of li­censed venues and to find what draws metropoli­tan and re­gional West Aus­tralians to Perth’s en­ter­tain­ment hot spots, and what keeps them away.

The re­port found visi­tors across all en­ter­tain­ment precincts wanted to see more pop-up bars and small bars, par­tic­u­larly in El­iz­a­beth Quay, the Perth CBD and Fre­man­tle.

And it warned that more en­gag­ing ac­tiv­i­ties, ex­pe­ri­ences and events were needed, say­ing they were the “most crit­i­cal fac­tor driv­ing vis­i­ta­tion and over­all opin­ion”.

The port city was named the best en­ter­tain­ment zone with an over­all score of 7.3 out of 10, be­ing Perth’s “most en­joy­able precinct to visit” with a good range of venues and ac­tiv­i­ties and a high pro­por­tion of visi­tors who said they would re­turn.

El­iz­a­beth Quay was sev­enth on the list of nine, but the re­port found this was “likely driven by the high per­cent­age who have never vis­ited (26 per cent) along with a per­cep­tion that the precinct does not of­fer a good range of suitable venues and ac­tiv­i­ties”.

Scar­bor­ough was at the bot­tom of the list with 17 per cent of visi­tors giv­ing it a “poor” rat­ing. It also rated the least en­joy­able precinct to visit with the fewest num­ber of peo­ple plan­ning to re­turn, “sug­gest­ing visi­tors are frus­trated with cur­rent build­ing and re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion works”.

And North­bridge still has a per­cep­tion as un­safe, with 39 per cent say­ing they did not feel safe and one in four say­ing it was not fam­ily friendly.

Fre­man­tle mayor Brad Pet­titt said he was “par­tic­u­larly pleased that Fre­man­tle was pop­u­lar across all age groups, from young adults to fam­i­lies and over-55s”.

“We’ve worked hard to make Freo a more at­trac­tive, vi­brant and wel­com­ing place, while also try­ing to re­tain our unique charm and char­ac­ter,” he said. “I’m con­fi­dent the re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion projects that are just get­ting un­der way now, like the Kings Square re­de­vel­op­ment, will make Freo an even more pop­u­lar place to visit.”

Tourism Min­is­ter Paul Pa­palia said Fre­man­tle was a “real as­set for the tourism sec­tor”, while he was con­fi­dent El­iz­a­beth Quay and Scar­bor­ough would rise in pop­u­lar­ity once de­vel­op­ment was com­plete. He said the re­search con­firmed the Gov­ern­ment’s fo­cus on re­form­ing liquor li­cens­ing laws.

WA Tourism Coun­cil boss Evan Hall said Perth’s en­ter­tain­ment precincts were pop­u­lar but he echoed the re­port’s ver­dict on events.

“You can have great en­ter­tain­ment precincts but you need great events, at­trac­tions and ex­pe­ri­ences to bring them alive, for lo­cals and visi­tors alike,” Mr Hall said.

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