WA is the only state in the country to experience a decline in both domestic and international visitors over the last financial year, according to new figures from the National Visitors Survey.
Shadow Minister for Tourism Libby Mettam said the latest figures show there has been growth in tourism numbers to every other state, while WA saw a decline of 12.7 percent.
Ms Mettam believes the government should be focusing on making our tourism hot spots more accessible to encourage more visitors to the region.
“It is vital that the state government direct funding allocated in the budget for destination marketing to this region to promote interstate visitation to coincide with the opening of the Busselton Margaret River Regional Airport.”
It is thought that expense is the main reason for the decline, with many believing it is simply too expensive to travel to WA. However, Tourism Minister Paul Papalia said our hotel prices are currently much more affordable than they have been in previous years.
“We know the tourism sector, particularly the Perth hotel industry, is hurting and the government's number one priority is filling seats on planes and getting people to Perth,” he said.
"We launched a multi-million dollar hotels campaign last month in direct response to this challenge. We are also re-establishing a TWA marketing presence in Sydney to cover marketing, trade and promotion in the Eastern States.
"We have thousands of new hotel rooms at the lowest prices we have seen for ages, new infrastructure, a burgeoning food and wine scene, and incredible wildlife and nature offerings - that is what we be using to promote the state and boost visitor numbers."
According to Tourism WA, Perth’s average daily rate sits around $170, while hotels in Sydney will cost between $220-$230 a night and a hotel in Melbourne will set you back around $180-$190 a night.
Going forward, Ms Mettam would like to see a dedicated CEO for Tourism Australia.
“What the sector needs is a CEO for Tourism WA with the marketing and tourism experience to take this state to the next level, who can negotiate with airlines and procure events to assist WA and can deliver Tourism WA’s 2020 goal.”
Have your say: Why are tourists ignoring WA? Email firstname.lastname@example.org