THE tourism industry is an underrated area of our economy, the reason being, in my opinion, that few people understand it.
The major focus by the WA Government is on our widely separated icons, such as Rottnest Island, the Southern Forests, the Pinnacles, Broome, etc.
Regional bodies such as local governments, visitor centres and business groups do their best to balance their spending on tourism with a return on investment for this spending which will benefit and grow their communities.
This approach to tourism needs an overhaul, introducing a business model to link and grow existing (and future) tourism destinations that can be used by both peak tourism industry bodies and the smallest tourism business as the principles of running a business to give value to your customers while at the same time returning a profit for the investment in both dollars and time.
One of the easiest ways to illustrate and evaluate a potential tourism idea or refresh an existing tourism business is a flow chart that evaluates 'yes' and 'no' paths leading to a decision which could improve a business or save a lot of heartache.
Additionally, Western Australia is so vast it really needs an integrated transport plan, and radical as it might seem, the government should consider establishing its own lowcost tourism airline connecting with local transport networks around our state.
This idea could open up new tourism businesses and, as a consequence, employment opportunities in locations not even thought of at the moment.
Millions of dollars are spent by governments supporting the tourism industry, but the question is whether this money is funding the areas that actual grow tourism?
Mal McFetridge, Safety Bay.