Budget cuts risk further Aboriginal tourism decline

9 November 2018

The state government must maintain dedicated funding for Aboriginal tourism businesses as WA falls behind other states in the number of international visitors participating in Aboriginal cultural activities.

The International Visitor Survey shows only 18 per cent of international holidaymakers to WA participated in an Aboriginal tourism experience during the course of their trip, the lowest participation of all states. This is at a time when funding for the successful Aboriginal Tourism Development Program has not been continued beyond the end of this financial year.

Tourism Council WA CEO Evan Hall said if Perth wanted to be the Western Gateway into Australia, it must have Aboriginal tourism experiences for international guests, in order to stand out from destinations across the globe.

“Funding for Aboriginal tourism is necessary to ensure WA can continue to develop new tourism products and have authentic Aboriginal tourism experiences for international guests in Perth and regional WA,” he said. 

Percentage of international holidaymakers participating in Aboriginal tourism experiences during trip in Australia 2017:



Northern Territory


South Australia


Australian Capital Territory






New South Wales




Western Australia



“Research has shown that Aboriginal tourism is of great interest to visitors to WA, with 78 per cent of visitors in 2016-2017 looking for an authentic Aboriginal experience during their trip,” Mr Hall said.

“Each year, Aboriginal tourism businesses directly contribute more than $43 million to the state economy and create around 340 full-time equivalent jobs.”

Mr Hall said Aboriginal tourism was a high-yield market with international visitors spending more and travelling further to participate in Aboriginal tourism experiences.

“International holidaymakers who participated in Aboriginal tourism in WA spent 79 per cent more than other international visitors to WA,” he said.

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