FOR a town of 13,500 Broome certainly has its fair share of air services.
In the past 12 months four airlines have commenced five new direct services to the Kimberley locale, including an international connection, which is helping boost tourism numbers to the region.
There are now significantly more aeroplane seats available for passengers to fly directly to Broome than ever before and the airlines are getting the passenger numbers.
Last year many of Broome’s resorts were booked out during peak season and are gearing up for another bumper season this year.
At least half a dozen resorts are planning expansions to provide more rooms for the growing numbers of tourists.
Getting the airlines to start direct flights in the wake of the Ansett collapse involved intense lobbying by the Broome Chamber of Commerce, the local tourism association Australia’s North West (formerly the Kimberley Association) and other relevant parties.
Broome Chamber of Commerce president Ron Johnston said he promoted the Kimberley region as an excellent tourist destination.
“There is no other town in Australia that has air services like Broome has,” Mr Johnston said.
Now, through marketing synergies created by the airlines’ own advertising and the region’s branding efforts, more people than ever before are being targeted to holiday in Broome.
Australia’s North West CEO Grant Smart said tourism growth was coming from the east coast.
“The growth in the past 12 to 18 months has been in domestic travel and that’s where we’ve been concentrating our marketing efforts,” Mr Smart said.
“The Perth market has always been there but we’ve now got direct routes coming from Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney.
“We are finding that a lot of people have done Queensland and Cairns and now they’re finding new destinations in Australia.”
Tourists choosing to holiday in Broome are generally Australian, 45 per cent come from intrastate, another 45 per cent interstate, with only 10 per cent travelling from overseas.
However, in a few years time, when Australia’s North West is confident with the strength of the domestic market it will concentrate more on overseas marketing.
“Once the domestic market is strong and resilient for a couple of years then we may look at the international market more closely,” Mr Smart said.
In the past 12 months Australia’s North West has spent more than $1 million promoting the Kimberley region, which includes a focus on the Broome region.
Earlier this year Australia’s North West was involved in a project with the Broome Visitor Centre and industry players to launch a branding platform.
The joint venture produced images and the tag line “Broome: let yourself go” that is used in its current advertising campaign as well as for marketing collateral for resorts, tourism operators, and other local businesses.
The collaborative approach has, at this early stage, worked, according to Mr Smart.
Visitors numbers are up even though the traditional high-season is months away.
Mr Smart said the tourism association and tourism operators had been promoting the area as a holiday destination outside its busy season of July and August.
The tourism season for Broome begins as early as April and finishes as late as October.
And tourists are heeding the message with more people now choosing to holiday in Broome as early as March, Mr Smart said.
While the wet-season and the threat of cyclones exists Mr Smart said the weather was hospitable from April onwards.
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