Grey dol­lar pow­ers lo­cal tourism

Kalgoorlie Miner - - NEWS - Zoe Keenan

Gold­fields tourism op­er­a­tors are not con­cerned by a de­crease in over­seas tourist num­bers, say­ing the bulk of busi­ness comes from grey no­mads.

The Golden Out­back has wel­comed 8000 fewer over­seas trav­ellers from July last year to June this year than the pre­vi­ous fi­nan­cial year, tak­ing a $5 mil­lion hit in in­ter­na­tional spend­ing, ac­cord­ing to Tourism Re­search Aus­tralia.

But lo­cal tour op­er­a­tors have told the Kal­go­or­lie Miner most of their tourism dol­lars come from the grey no­mads. Han­nans North Tourist Mine su­per­vi­sor Melissa Chap­man re­ported a slight de­crease in in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors from 2177 in 2016 to 1945 last year.

How­ever, she said the slight drop had not af­fected busi­ness.

“The ma­jor­ity of our vis­i­tors are grey no­mads or fam­i­lies dur­ing the school hol­i­days,” she said.

“Our in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors, par­tic­u­larly Euro­pean tourists, only come be­tween De­cem­ber and Fe­bru­ary.”

Ms Chap­man said the busi­ness had some in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors but mostly grey no­mads or fam­i­lies through the In­dian Pa­cific train from Perth to Syd­ney, which stopped in Kal­go­or­lie. “Last year we had 7500 vis­i­tors from that, so it was a great source of in­come for us and so far this year we’ve had 6154 al­ready,” she said.

“We’re find­ing that a lot of those vis­i­tors tend to come back to Kal­go­or­lie be­cause they didn’t get enough time to see what the place was all about and re­alise it’s not a small town.”

Questa Casa brothel owner Carmel Galvin said her busi­ness had lots of over­seas vis­i­tors but she largely re­lied on the grey no­mads for tourist dol­lars.

“They have an in­ter­est in the past, they have a bit of a money and they want a good time,” she said.

“Kal­go­or­lie re­lies on grey no­mads and I think for some rea­son peo­ple in town are try­ing to tone down the Wild West his­tory we have to of­fer, but I think that’s what brought peo­ple here in the first place.”

Kal­go­or­lie Tours and Char­ters man­ager Wes Mur­ray said his over­seas vis­i­tors were mostly Euro­pean and only came to Kal­go­or­lie-Boul­der dur­ing the sum­mer months. “I haven’t seen a de­cline in in­ter­na­tional tourist num­bers at all,” he said.

“In No­vem­ber last year to Fe­bru­ary this year our in­ter­na­tional tourists made up 30 per cent of our busi­ness. Dur­ing July to Oc­to­ber they only made up 6 per cent, so it goes to show those cus­tomers only come dur­ing the sum­mer months.”

Bush Ghoodhu Wongutha Tours op­er­a­tor Linden Brown­ley has been run­ning his busi­ness for nearly two years.

He said it rarely had in­ter­na­tional tourists but had seen an in­crease in other vis­i­tors, mostly the grey no­mads.

“I think the pow­ers that be in town should look at strate­gies and ways to at­tract more in­ter­na­tional tourists as well to help build lo­cal tourism busi­nesses,” he said.

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