Change needed as international visitors, spend falls

2 November 2018

The latest International Visitor Survey results show Western Australia was again the only State to experience a decline in international visitor numbers and expenditure in 2017-18.

The figures show the number of international visitors to Western Australia fell by 1.8 per cent, while visitor expenditure decreased by 9.9 per cent, or $248 million.

Tourism Council WA CEO Evan Hall said the results showed WA was not keeping pace with investment in marketing, events and attractions in other States.

“The State Government has made tourism a real priority and the industry is delighted that a dedicated Managing Director has now been appointed for Tourism WA,” he said.

“To be successful, Tourism WA must be able to compete with other States which are investing significant funds in aviation development, destination marketing and major events to further boost their enormous tourism jobs growth.

“As tourists shift from WA to the east coast, they take visitor dollars and jobs with them.

“The tourism industry has made significant investment in new accommodation, restaurants, airports and venues, and this should be a time when interstate and international spending is pulling WA out of recession into jobs growth as seen in other States.”

Tourism Council WA is calling for decisive action in response to the decline in international tourism visitors, expenditure and jobs. The tourism industry has identified three State policy priorities for attention:

  1. Approve non-government tourism investment in new attractions for Perth and regional WA;
  2. Match marketing investment made by other States, particularly funding for Aboriginal tourism; and
  3. Secure major events at venues such as Optus Stadium and RAC Arena which drive large numbers of visitors to WA.

“The industry is seeking real change that will see Western Australia keep pace with other States which are investing more, approving new attractions, and bringing in more visitors,” Mr Hall said.

Mr Hall said events had huge potential to deliver increased visitation, giving potential visitors a reason to travel at a certain time.

“We now have the capacity to host international, high-profile sporting and entertainment events in Perth, and we know that these events attract visitors – for example, the two Ed Sheeran concerts in March attracted approximately 7,000 international and interstate visitors,” he said.

“These visitors spend money on transport, food, hotels and shopping across the State, creating economic activity and jobs for Western Australians.”

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