Western Australia’s $200million hit: Why overseas tourists are giving the state the cold shoulder
- Western Australia is in the midst of a costly downturn in overseas tourism
- Last year the state saw international tourism increase less than states in the east
- As Tasmania’s visitor count rose by 20 per cent, WA’s did by just one per cent
- The lack of interest has also resulted in a $200million loss to the state’s economy
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It’s known globally for its pristine beaches, endless outback and being home to the world’s most isolated capital city.
But while international tourists are flocking to less scenic parts of the country in large numbers, Western Australia is seeing fewer visitors than ever.
Last year the state only saw a rise of just one per cent in tourists compared to the previous 12 months.
However, the real loss to the state’s once-thriving tourism industry comes as those who choose to head west aren’t staying as long – or spending as much – as they once did.
While international tourists are flocking to less scenic parts of the country in their numbers, Western Australia seeing fewer visitors than ever (pictured is Bell Gorge in the Kimberley)
In fact for the 12 months before the end of March, overseas visitor spending was down 8.3 per cent — resulting in an economic loss of $200million for the state.
This, coupled with visitors staying a collective two million fewer nights during visits, has resulted in a once unforeseeable plunge in tourism figures.
And it follows a state election campaign which saw Labor bank on bringing more visitors to in a bid to diversify the its economy.
‘Our plan for tourism is a real game changer for WA,’ said Premier Mark McGowan before last year’s election.
However, in the year since, the now-government’s tourism tactics have provoked widespread questioning.
Most controversially it chose to merge Tourism WA into one department and sack Gwyn Dolphin who had previously been at its helm with a $375,000 payout.
At the time, Tourism Council chief executive Evan Hall also criticised the Government’s performance on tourism, saying: ‘there’s a huge gulf between the Government’s plans and what’s being delivered on the ground’.
Interestingly, the downturn in Western Australia (pictured) is in sharp contrast to a boom in Tasmania and the ACT who both saw an unprecedented surge in visitor numbers
Western Australia’s myriad of natural wonders tempted Roger Federer to take a trip to Rottnest Island in December last year
Interestingly, the downturn is in sharp contrast to a boom in Tasmania and the ACT who both saw an unprecedented surge in visitor numbers.
This equated surges of 20 and 15.8 per cent in each state respectively.
And the trend continues across the eastern seaboard.
In the same period, Victoria’s international visitors increased by nine per cent, New South Wales’ rose by 8.5 per cent and Queensland saw 5.5 per cent more foreign tourists than the previous year.
However, Western Australia’s myriad of natural wonders did tempt many famous faces with several high-profile stars dropping by in the past 12 months.
Most famously, tennis legend Roger Federer snapped a quokka selfie during a trip to Rottnest Island, off the coast of Perth, last December in his second attempt to get the shot.
During the 12 months before the end of March, overseas visitor spending was down 8.3 per cent — resulting in an economic loss of $200 million for the state (pictured is the famously pink Spencer Lake near Esperance, Western Australia)
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