Western Australia’s overseas tourism drought may have ended with the latest figures showing a 2.1 per cent overall increase in international visitors to WA last year.
Included in those figures was a record number of overseas holidaymakers, which jumped 12.6 per cent to a record 487,000 people.
Despite the rise, WA’s overall growth rate was still below the national average of 5 per cent, with Tasmania continuing to lead the pack with an 11 per cent boost in overseas visitor numbers.
The State’s key markets of Malaysia, Singapore and the US were down, while increases were seen from China, Germany, Japan and India.
WA Tourism Minister Paul Papalia said the latest data was “encouraging”.
“This year we have a fantastic calendar of events on offer, including a strong program of events that have international appeal such as the Manchester United matches, the Bledisloe Cup and the Western Australia Gourmet Escape,” he said.
“We are also hosting three of Tourism Australia’s major travel trade events, which will help us show some of the most influential in world travel how much our State has changed and highlight everything we can offer international visitors.
“September will see the start of direct flights between Tokyo and Perth which will also bring more visitors to the State.”
Australian Hotels Association WA chief executive Bradley Woods it was “fantastic news for the state’s tourism industry”.
“Looking to the year ahead there are a number of reasons to remain upbeat about WA producing a sustained increase in visitation numbers,” he said.
“Western Australia is hosting all three of Tourism Australia’s tourism trade events, a number of new direct flight paths into WA are set to commence and there is a shopping list of major sporting events taking place throughout 2019.
“We welcome these figures, but there is still much work to be done – the good news is that WA is now ready to accommodate a significant increase in visitors, with a range of new and exciting high-quality hotels, bars, restaurants and pubs across the state.”