WA tourism adds 17,000 jobs but still a long way off full recovery

Optus Stadium has been critical in winning back tourism for WA.

Since the opening of the WA border in early 2022, 17,000 tourism jobs have been recovered to take the total to 89,000 in 2021-22, but far behind the peak of 119,000 jobs in 2016, according to Tourism Research Australia’s latest figures.

“While WA tourism jobs peaked in 2016 at 119,000, in 2017 the number of jobs generated by the industry fell by 8,000 when WA lost significant market share due to the machinery of government changes to Tourism WA,” Tourism Council WA CEO Evan Hall said.

“The WA tourism industry had started to recover jobs by 2019, but a further 28,000 jobs were lost in 2020-21 due to Covid-19 and border restrictions, taking us to a low point of 72,000 jobs.”

Hall said the State Government’s support to the tourism industry during the pandemic paid off, with tourism businesses recovering interstate visitations following the border opening in 2022.

“Investment in major events at Perth Arena and Optus Stadium have been critical to winning back interstate tourists,”‘ he said.

“Tourism businesses have been investing in promoting Western Australia, attracting guests and recruiting staff to build back tourism across the State.

“However, international visitors to WA are still at 60 per cent of pre-Covid-19 levels. The key to success now is securing direct international air services from inbound markets such as China and India.”