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Western Australia’s tourism in crisis as overseas visitor numbers continue to fall
While it offers visitors remarkable beaches, unique attractions, distinctive events and the only direct air service from Australia to London, Western Australia’s international visitor arrivals are in freefall.
New international arrival figures at Perth Airport reveal a 14% decline in October and November.
Speaking to The West Australian, Tourism Council WA (TCWA) Chief Executive Evan Hall said it was “impossible to over-exaggerate the disastrous state of the industry”, advising “we are in a crisis.
“We’ve seen more than 1200 jobs go in the last financial year and it has become inevitable that hundreds more will follow.
“Australia is experiencing an international tourism boom, but those people are not coming to WA. Tourism spending in our State is down by $180 million and if that continues year on year, we will see an industry crisis that mirrors what occurred with the collapse of Ansett, September 11 and the SARS virus.”
TCWA has called for an urgent $130 million investment by the Western Australian Government, describing it as a “state emergency”.
The tourism peak body wants an extra $26 million a year over the next five years to market Western Australia overseas, saying the current $85 million annual budget allocation for tourism in the forward estimates, totalling $425 million, would not “stop the slide”.
However, Western Australia Tourism Minister Paul Papalia believes a long term view should be taken, advising “we know international tourism markets take longer to shift.”
Minister Papalia as also maintained that Western Australia couldn’t match the combined marketing spend of Australia’s eastern states, adding “we have established a $30 million aviation fund aimed at making Perth the nation’s western gateway and we’ve seen results with ANA commencing a direct flight from Tokyo, seven days a week from September.”
Local tourism operators agreed that something needed to be done to turn the situation around.
SeaLink General Manager Andrew Lane told The West Australian that there was “a lot of pain out there”, adding “Perth is suffering a perfect storm.
“The local economy is depressed and there has been a downturn in domestic and international visitors. We need to invest in campaigns that give people a reason to come here.”
Adam Barnard, Managing Director of tour and coach operator ADAMS, said it had never been this bad concluding “I know the Government is shy about spending, but this money would be an investment.”
Image: Western Australia's Wave Rock, a natural rock formation shaped like a tall breaking ocean wave.
9th January 2019 - Tourism Council WA calls for growth fund to stop industry job losses
13th November 2018 - Perth Zoo officially opens its lion breeding facility
3rd November 2018 - 2018 AFL season at Optus Stadium delivers $66 million tourism boost
7th September 2018 - Western Australian professionals recognised for excellence in tourism
6th September 2018 - Former world surfing chief executive named Tourism WA Managing Director
1st September 2018 - Tourism WA backs Asia-Pacific’s biggest mountain bike event
23rd August 2018 - New appointee to lead Tourism WA and Western Australia’s jobs agenda
24th July 2018 - Further turmoil in management of Western Australian tourism
20th July 2018 - Latest tourism figures show challenges for Western Australia
12th July 2018 - The Tourism Group to manage the Western Australian Visitor Centre
2nd July 2018 - Tourism WA looks to promote visitation to Broome and Perth Hills
21st March 2018 - New plan to drive growth in Western Australian tourism
29th June 2017 - 109,000 Western Australians employed in the tourism industry
14th November 2016 - Investing in tourism could create 4,000 new jobs in Western Australia
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