WA sees tourism turnaround with travel figures and spending up

WA Tourism Minister Paul Papalia has declared tourism is now back on track after a 15 per cent spike in the number of visitors in 2018 compared with the year before.

Tourism Research Australia data for 2018 reveals 34.6 million people visited WA last year. These figures include overseas and interstate visitors, as well as locals who went on an overnight or day trip.

Tourists also spent more last year, with visitors spending $10.373 million last year, an almost 9 per cent rise on the $9.531 million spend in 2017.

While Papalia said it showed the WA Government’s tourism action plan was starting to work, others were sceptical saying the majority of the figures, almost 32 million, were made of West Australians holidaying at home, with only a small fraction made up of international and interstate tourists.

Papalia predicted visitor numbers would continue to rise thanks to WA’s calendar of sporting events, an expanded Gourmet Escape and daily direct flights linking Perth and Tokyo from September 1.

“There is always more to be done, but we’ve just had biggest number of visitors in history come to our State,” Papalia told The West Australian. “The spend is up too. It was a good year. Now we’re going to push on and try and get bigger numbers.”