07/12/2011 - 09:14

China leads WA tourism growth

07/12/2011 - 09:14

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International tourism to WA was up 8.2 per cent since September 2010, according to a report released today.

Tourism Research Australia’s International Visitor Survey showed international leisure tourism was up 5.7 per cent while business tourism showed a massive 26.8 per cent increase.

WA's tourism is a vast improvement on the national performance , with figures showing international leisure tourism to Australia falling 1 per cent and business arrivals up 7 per cent.

Visitors from China were indentified as a growth area, even though the survey was undertaken before the arrival of direct flights on China Southern Airlines in November.

Tourism Council WA CEO Evan Hall said visitors from China were up 55.8 per cent over the past year, and the growth would continue with new direct flights and marketing campaigns.

“This growth shows what can happen when government and industry invest in marketing WA to the world,” he said.

“We desperately need growth in Chinese tourism as many regional tourism businesses are doing it tough.

“Western Australia has a lot to offer and if the government invests in marketing our great state then visitors will turn up.”

The report comes as Senator Nick Sherry told an Australian Tourism Export Council conference today tourism operators needed to be more productive and innovative to halt the sector's decline.

"Australia's international market share has declined in recent years and domestic tourism expenditure has fallen since 2000," Mr Sherry said.

"Not least of these challenges (is) increasing competition and the rise of the Australian dollar.

"We need to do something about this through investment in new products, boosting productivity, increasing uptake of digital technology and addressing labour and skills shortages."

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