Region could be beacon of light
Vasse MLA and shadow tourism minister Libby Mettam says the Margaret River region could be a beacon of hope for the State’s struggling tourism industry as the latest figures show WA is the blight on an otherwise robust national sector.
The latest tourism figures, to be released today show a one per cent increase in international visitors to WA in the year to the end of September.
This pales against growth in other States, including Tasmania (up 15 per cent), NSW (up 6 per cent) and Queensland (up 5 per cent).
The State’s overseas visitors spent $166 million less than they did a year ago, and despite improvements in interstate and intrastate numbers, the Tourism Council WA says more than 1200 jobs have been lost because dozens of tourism-related businesses have been forced to close or reduce staff.
Ms Mettam said WA continued to fight for its market share, and the Government needed to play to the State’s strengths.
“Margaret River is an established global brand with world-class wine and food and events including the Margaret River Gourmet Escape and Margaret River Pro, and the region continues to attract visitors for our outstanding beaches, natural attractions, and diverse tourism offerings,” she said.
“The McGowan Government must accept that visitors are attracted to the Margaret River brand and show some real commitment to the tourism industry.”
While international tourist spending in WA declined by 7 per cent to $2.2 billion, most other States had significant growth — Tasmania increased by 13 per cent, Queensland jumped 12 per cent and NSW grew by 9 per cent.
On the flipside, interstate num- bers to WA grew by 8 per cent over the same period.
TCWA chief executive Evan Hall said this increase could be attributed to effective investment in interstate marketing, particularly with AFL tourism packages.
But he said the Tourism WA budget was insufficient to cover both international and interstate markets and a tourism jobs growth fund needed to be established to halt the overall decline and save jobs.
“The fund could be used to secure major drawcard events, attract international and national business events, develop tourism businesses, drive improved destination marketing and secure new international and interstate aviation routes,” Mr Hall said.
“Such a fund would see WA keep pace with other States which are investing more, approving new attractions and bringing in more visitors.”
New Tourism WA chief Brodie Carr said the overall increase in tourism numbers was pleasing but the growth needed to be more consistent over a longer period “before we start celebrating”.
The new figures show big falls in tourists from the US (down 13 per cent), Malaysia (down 10 per cent) and New Zealand (down 7 per cent) and improvements in numbers from India (up 11 per cent), Japan (up 7 per cent) and Germany (up 7 per cent).
Tourism Council WA chief executive Evan Hall says the Tourism WA budget is insufficient to cover both international and interstate markets.