City on international tourist map

Tayler NealeAlbany Advertiser

Albany’s appeal among international tourists has again surged, with the latest International Visitor Survey showing an annual increase of nearly 20 per cent in 2016.

The figures, released by Tourism Research Australia, show Albany had growth of 17.3 per cent in international visitors, eclipsing the State average of 12.4 per cent and the South West region (15.2), which includes tourist hotspots such as Margaret River and Yallingup.

Australia’s South West acting chief executive Catrin Allsop’s said increased tourism investment in the region was a factor.

“The investment in international-standard tourism attraction infrastructure here in the region would be a driver of this increased visitation from overseas,” she said.

“There are also global factors such as favourable exchange rates or that Australia is perceived as a safe destination, for example, that would also add to this increase.”

Despite the increase in international visitors, the survey also revealed an annual decrease in visitor nights of 4.6 per cent in 2016 in Albany, compared to an increase of 1.1 per cent in WA and a 3.2 per cent rise in the South West.

Tourism WA chief executive Gwyn Dolphin said these results followed a Statewide trend. “Across the board we have seen an increase in visitor numbers but a decrease or little growth in visitor nights,” she said.

“In general terms this could be down to a decrease in the number of working holidaymakers and people travelling for business and employment.”

She said Albany must continue to upgrade its facilities to accommodate international visitors. “It will be important for the industry in Albany and local stakeholders to work together to develop and promote the tourism across the region, making the most of the new infrastructure investments,” she said. “Tourism groups also need to ensure that visitors can easily access various tourism experiences, so co-operative marketing, the use of booking technology and packaging of experiences will become more important.”

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