Tourism Western Australia, now as part of the larger portfolio of Jobs, Science, Tourism and Innovation, will closely review the Auditor General’s report, with a view to building on our efforts to increase visitor numbers and spend in Western Australia.
The goal of the WA State Tourism Strategy is to see the value of tourism double from $6 billion in 2010 to $12 billion in 2020. Currently, yearly visitor spend in WA is $10.1 billion, which means we need to see an increase in visitor spend of $2 billion over the next three years to meet the goal.
The report suggests that under the strategy Tourism WA will achieve an 86.7% increase in visitor spend between 2010 and 2020, rather than the ambition of 100% as expressed in the strategy.
During the early phase of the strategy hotel rooms and plane seats were relatively full due to historic levels of mining investment. This has seen a slowing down in recent times. Nevertheless, Tourism WA, will work hard in partnership with industry and other key agencies to elevate the $10.1 billion current spend to $12 billion over the next three years.
Tourism WA is currently refining the strategy for the longer term, and incorporating a short term action plan. This work is greatly assisted by the funding certainty and flexibility afforded to Tourism WA in the current State Budget. Tourism WA is committed to using the best available information to extract the maximum benefit from the tourism budget.
Our strategy to increase the number of hotel rooms in Perth has been successful with 3,300 new rooms either already built or due for completion next year. Added to that is a raft of new city infrastructure including Elizabeth Quay, Perth Stadium, Yagan Square and upgrades to the Scarborough foreshore, all of which will make Perth a more attractive leisure destination. The new hotel rooms also make Perth a better value proposition following years of a lack of accommodation and high hotel room costs due to high business demand fuelled by the mining sector.
Correcting the lingering perceptions on the east coast that WA is too far away, too expensive and has a scarcity of hotel rooms, remains a challenge. Although it is clear efforts to entice holiday makers from key international markets are paying off with a marked uplift in international leisure visitors in 2016-17.
Tourism in Western Australia is recognised as a major economic contributor, not only in terms of visitor spend, but also employment. The industry currently generates around 109,000 jobs, or eight per cent of WA’s workforce, compared to 85,000 when the strategy was released.
Tourism WA remains committed to working with our partners to increase visitor numbers and spend for the benefit of all Western Australians.