9 January 2019
Tourism Council WA has called on the State Government to compete with other States by establishing a Tourism Jobs Growth Fund to arrest a continual decline in visitor expenditure which has already resulted in the loss of more than 1,000 jobs across WA.
The International Visitor Survey results for the twelve months to September 2018, released today, reveal expenditure by international visitors to Western Australia fell by 7%, or $166 million.
The latest National Visitor Survey results show the number of interstate visitors increased on par with the rest of Australia, which can be attributed to effective investment in interstate marketing, particularly of AFL tourism packages.
However, the Tourism WA Budget is insufficient to cover both international and interstate markets effectively, resulting in growth in interstate visitation and spend at the expense of international results. The net impact is that WA is $53 million worse off.
Tourism Council WA CEO Evan Hall said the results meant more jobs would disappear in retail, hospitality, transport and other tourism industries as international visitor spending declined. These losses follow a series of disappointing visitor spend results over the past 18 months.
“The decline follows a $181 million decrease in out-of-state visitor expenditure in 2017-18, while other States grew their tourism industries,” Mr Hall said.
“As a result of this spending decrease, more than 1,200 jobs were lost across WA in 2017-18. The latest results further compound job losses and significantly impact tourism businesses across Western Australia.”
In a pre-State Budget Submission, Tourism Council WA has called on the State Government to commit to a Tourism Jobs Growth Fund to genuinely increase tourism funding and put WA on competitive footing with other States in order to retain market share and increase jobs.
“Other States are investing significant funds in destination marketing, major events and aviation development to further boost their enormous tourism jobs growth,” Mr Hall said.
In the Northern Territory, which has experienced a smaller tourism decline than WA, the State Government has announced an additional $103 million over two years for tourism marketing, events and developing new tourism experiences.
The Queensland Government has announced an additional $130 million for a Growing Tourism, Growing Tourism Jobs fund to attract major events, cruise shipping, airline routes, and develop new tourism experiences.
“A Tourism Jobs Growth Fund for WA could be used to secure major drawcard events, attract international and national business events, develop tourism businesses, drive improved destination marketing and secure new international and interstate aviation routes,” Mr Hall said.
“Such a fund would see Western Australia keep pace with other States which are investing more, approving new attractions, and bringing in more visitors.
“Now is the time when visitor spending should be pulling WA out of recession and into jobs growth, as seen in other States.”
The Budget Submission shows that overall funding for Tourism WA has not increased under the current State Government and is increasingly falling behind other States.
“We call on the State Government to deliver its election commitment to diversify the WA economy and create jobs by investing in tourism, as other States have done,” Mr Hall said.
Tourism Council WA’s budget submission can be seen here.
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