Major events help WA record tourism turnaround

Western Australia has seen a boost in visitor spending in the 12 months to the end of March marking a turnaround for the state.

Domestic travellers spent $7.8 billion in WA in, a 24 per cent increase on the same period last year. In the same 12 months there were record 2.66 million out-of-state visitors, a 16 per cent rise.

The improving domestic numbers come amid the continued struggles of the international market, which saw a 1 per cent drop in visitors and 2 per cent fall in spend for the same period.

Tourism Council chief executive Evan Hall said it was “still a real struggle at the moment” for many in the tourism sector.

“Most tourism businesses are still reliant on West Australians travelling and spending in WA, the local economy is not that good and people are spending less,” he said.

Hall said major events at Perth Stadium were a vital element in boosting interstate visitor numbers.

“The state government’s investment in the stadium major events and more effective interstate marketing is definitely paying off with increased tourism dollars creating jobs in WA,” he said.

“Perth previously had a poor reputation as an expensive destination. Now interstate visitors have been lured back by must-see matches and events at the stadium, particularly the AFL.

“East coast spectators are having a great time in WA and are telling friends back home that Perth is a new city and worth a visit.”

Tourism Minister Paul Papalia said the government’s focus on securing major events and securing more direct flights between Perth and international destinations was reaping dividends.

“All of those are working and all of those are growing,” he said.

The direct service between London and Perth by Qantas has been hailed a success and Japanese carrier ANA committed to launching services between Perth and Tokyo from September. But Emirates has scaled back its Perth flights, while Etihad has abandoned the market entirely.