Regional tourism visitors decline

Saskia AdystiAlbany Advertiser
The Gap is an iconic tourism destination in Albany.
Camera IconThe Gap is an iconic tourism destination in Albany. Credit: Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

Regional WA towns are experiencing a drop in intrastate visitors but Albany and Denmark appear to be bucking the trend.

Figures released by Tourism WA show Albany, Denmark and the rest of the South West region recorded a 2.7 per cent jump in intrastate WA visitors in 2016-17.

However, the region suffered a 24.4 per cent drop in interstate visitors and a 23.2 per cent drop in foreign visitors.

The Golden Outback region, which includes Esperance, Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Leonora, Ravensthorpe and Meekatharra, recorded a 24.4 per cent decrease in total visitors.

It comes as Easter brought more than 3500 visitors to Albany last weekend, which coincided with the opening of the new $2.6 million York Street Visitor Hub.

Tourism Council WA chief executive Evan Hall said the State was suffering a “downward trend across the board” and many tourism operators were “doing it tough”.

“We need to be growing at 3 per cent just to keep up with inflation, so negative figures are not good news,” he said.

Despite big drops in tourism revenue in most of regional WA, Tourism Minister Paul Papalia said he remained focused on bringing people to Perth, announcing a major new event for the WA capital and a “Hotel Perth” campaign.

Mr Papalia defended the focus on Perth and said most visitors had to visit Perth before they were able to visit WA’s regional areas.

Mr Papalia has now launched a two-year action plan to attract more people to visit regional WA and promote Perth as an affordable and vibrant destination.

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