International visitors take flight to Perth

PERTH Airport has recorded its strongest arrivals performance since 1997 for the March quarter, thanks in part to a surge in international passengers.

It’s good news for the Western Australian Tourism Commission, which has been working hard to attract more visitors to the State.

In the three months to March more than 420,000 passengers travelled in through the Perth terminal, suggesting an upswing in travel confidence.

Westralia Airport Corp-oration chief executive officer Graham Muir said Perth was providing a popular destination for visitors wishing to resume their international plans, allowing visitors to experience travel freedom in what is considered a very safe environment.

In the March quarter UK visitors were up 10 per cent on the previous year and arrivals from Japan were up 18 per cent.

The domestic market also appears to have bounced back from the collapse of Ansett, losing only 10 per cent over the March quarter.

That’s a strong performance considering Ansett previously had 50 per cent of the domestic market in WA.

“Inbound travel is particularly strong, reflecting the success of the WA Tourism Commission’s marketing eff-orts post September 11,” Mr Muir said.

WA Tourism Commission chief executive officer Richard Muirhead said the figures demonstrated that the WA Tourism Commission’s initiatives in the international tourism market had been very successful.

“The State Government allocated $5 million to the WA Tourism Commission in September 2001 to counter the impact of the terrorist attacks in the US and the grounding of Ansett,” he said.

“In the weeks following the crisis, WA moved its inter-national focus to Malaysia with a consumer campaign that resulted in over 2,300 bookings worth more than $3 million in direct sales.

“Bookings to WA resulting from this three-month campaign exceeded 2000, resulting in more than $5 million in airfares, accommodation and land tour sales.”

In addition to these pleasing figures a survey of regional operators revealed that more than 60 per cent of operators experienced equal or better bookings in January and February than in the same period last year.

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