Share gems to get Asian tourists: re­port

Great Southern Herald - - News -

Clean air, blue skies and land­marks such as Greens Pool and The Gap are what draw snaphappy Asian tourists to WA’s south­ern coast.

That is ac­cord­ing to a new Curtin Univer­sity-Bankwest re­port, which said low des­ti­na­tion aware­ness was the big­gest bar­rier to in­creas­ing Asian tourist num­bers in the South West.

The re­port, South West for Asia: Pro­mot­ing Tourism Prod­uct De­vel­op­ment in Aus­tralia’s South West Tourism Re­gion for Asian Mar­kets, rec­om­mended that tourism op­er­a­tors fo­cus heav­ily on pro­mot­ing pop­u­lar tourist at­trac­tions through on­line “sto­ries”.

Th­ese sto­ries might be pho­tos or videos of sunny weather, or the his­tory of a town or at­trac­tion.

Des­ti­na­tions ripe for on­line pro­mo­tion in­cluded Greens Pool, the Tree Top Walk and The Gap.

Lead au­thor Dr Michael Volgger, from Curtin Univer­sity’s School of Mar­ket­ing, said the re­search found most Asian vis­i­tors were at­tracted to the South West’s blue skies and clear wa­ters, but a lack of on­line aware­ness of the re­gion was hurt­ing tourism rates.

“Many Asian vis­i­tors are mo­ti­vated to visit a lo­ca­tion based on word-of-mouth and a strong so­cial me­dia in­flu­ence, so it is im­por­tant that at­trac­tions in Aus­tralia’s South West be­come more iconic by com­bin­ing the unique fea­tures of the re­gion with build­ing pop­u­lar so­cial me­dia mo­ments,” he said.

How­ever, the re­port also said more needed to be done to in­crease at­trac­tion num­bers in the re­gion.

“(Aus­tralia’s South West) tourism providers iden­tify weak­nesses in terms of des­ti­na­tion aware­ness, di­rect flight ac­cess, wi-fi avail­abil­ity, din­ing op­tions and open­ing hours,” it said.

“In­ter­vie­wees ar­gue that the lack of quan­tity and avail­able ac­tiv­i­ties and at­trac­tions can be a bar­rier to ex­tended stays for Asian vis­i­tors . . . (and pleaded) for the de­vel­op­ment of new prod­ucts to add iconic or bucket list items to the range of at­trac­tions in ASW”.

Snap-happy re­gional des­ti­na­tions like Greens Pool, Den­mark are gar­ner­ing at­ten­tion from over­seas vis­i­tors.

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