WA international tourism slumps amid east coast boom

13 March 2018

The first year of the new State Government has seen an unprecedented decline in international tourism to WA. The latest figures released today show Western Australia was the only State to experience a decline in international visitors and their expenditure in the twelve months to December 2017.

The latest figures from the International Visitor Survey show expenditure by international visitors to WA fell by 5.5%, the number of visitors fell 0.8% and the number of visitor nights fell by 7.7%. By comparison, other States experienced significant growth in visitor numbers and expenditure.

Tourism Council WA CEO Evan Hall said the tourism industry had reduced prices and invested heavily in new hotels, vessels, and tourism experiences, making it disappointing to see WA continue to fall behind.

“States like Tasmania and South Australia, with fewer international aviation services than WA, are growing their international tourism by around 20 per cent. Meanwhile, WA has lost international market share in visitation, expenditure and nights,” he said.

“Other States are proving better at promoting themselves as destinations for international travellers by comparison with Western Australia.

“The Government has made tourism jobs growth and economic diversity a top priority, however there is a huge gulf between the Government’s plans and what is being delivered on the ground.”

Mr Hall said the bureaucratisation of the State’s tourism and international education marketing had resulted in a lack of specialised leadership at the top of Tourism WA. The position of Tourism WA CEO is currently being filled on a part-time basis by the Director General of the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science & Innovation, who has no prior experience in tourism. Furthermore, the head of marketing position at Tourism WA is substantially vacant.

“We urge the State Government to urgently appoint a dedicated, full-time CEO with tourism marketing experience to lead Tourism WA,” he said.

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For media enquiries please contact Tourism Council WA Corporate Affairs Manager Leslee Hall lhall@tourismcouncilwa.com.au / 0439 874 992