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  • WA Tourism Economy

11th August 2017

Forecasts for the Tourism economy in Western Australia

What does this mean for tourism destinations?

This week, the Committee for Perth released a FACTBase Bulletin as part of its Bigger and Better Beyond the Boom research project. Overall, the tourism sector is seen as having the capacity to drive economic growth in the coming decades.

But, there are some challenges for the tourism economy in WA including:

  • attracting a more diverse range of tourists
  • increasing the number of people visiting regional Western Australia
  • developing a short-stay visitor market
  • creating more sophisticated marketing campaigns.

Some interesting facts from the Bulletin

The total contribution of tourism to the WA economy in 2016 was $10.64 billion.

WA Tourism Economy

Domestic tourism makes the biggest contribution to the Australian economy.

WA Tourism Economy

But, WA only attracted 4.6{8e6d983e74874acb387086f732b9e8bca692130348b310c73ee91b097eb7ecc6} of the national interstate market in 2015-16. And there is a worrying down trend, which will have a significant impact on the WA economy if it continues.

  • For the year to March 2017, the number of interstate visitors to WA fell by 24{8e6d983e74874acb387086f732b9e8bca692130348b310c73ee91b097eb7ecc6}!
  • The number of intrastate visitors fell by 7.5{8e6d983e74874acb387086f732b9e8bca692130348b310c73ee91b097eb7ecc6} and the number of overnight stays for these visitors fell by 12.1{8e6d983e74874acb387086f732b9e8bca692130348b310c73ee91b097eb7ecc6}.
  • The distance to WA is seen as an issue for visitors from the eastern states.

In terms of overseas visitors, WA attracts fewer visitors from China and New Zealand and more visitors from the UK, Malaysia, Singapore and Germany. This is significant given Tourism Australia’s projections about growth of visitor numbers and spend from China and NZ.

  • By 2026–27, 15 million international visitors are expected.
  • This is a 75{8e6d983e74874acb387086f732b9e8bca692130348b310c73ee91b097eb7ecc6} increase on 2016–17 and annual growth of 5.8{8e6d983e74874acb387086f732b9e8bca692130348b310c73ee91b097eb7ecc6}.
  • With spending of:
    • $26.2B expected from China; $3.9B from NZ and $6.3B from the USA.

Of WA’s five defined tourist regions, tourists from Malaysia, Singapore and China are most likely to visit Experience Perth and Australia’s South West with only a small proportion travelling to Australia’s Coral Coast, North West or Golden Outback.

Interestingly, by 2017-18, China is projected to become our largest source of inbound visitors and spend.

So, how should destinations and tourism operators respond to this information?

None of the challenges are insurmountable and WA has many opportunities to benefit from the projected growth, especially from the overseas markets. As the Committee indicates,

“We need to make sure that Western Australia is a more appealing and affordable destination for interstate, overseas and even local tourists. We need people to know that WA is a holiday destination.

Our beaches, wildlife, unspoilt natural wilderness and island experiences provide abundant tourism opportunities in Perth and across the state. Indigenous tourism experiences identify and develop strategies focused on the distinctive experiences offered here in WA”

So, destinations need to focus on creating and marketing appealing tourism products and destinations that capture the unique offer that is WA. Clearly, understanding how to successfully attract visitors from China should be a major driver for tourism strategies in both Perth and regional WA.