16/09/2015 - 12:54

Interstate tourist spend drops $324m

16/09/2015 - 12:54

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Interstate tourist spend drops $324m
Western Australia's beach lifestyle is a major incentive for residents to holiday at home. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Fresh tourism figures show more Western Australians are holidaying at home than ever before, but the state is failing to attract visitors from the east coast.

The latest National Visitor Survey statistics released by Tourism Research Australia showed an 18 per cent rise in WA residents holidaying locally over the last year, and an increase in day trip spending of 13 per cent.

But the statistics also showed interstate visitor numbers were down 2.1 per cent in 2014-15, while visitor spending was down 21 per cent.

Tourism Council WA chief executive Evan Hall said that reduction in spending equated to $324 million lost, the equivalent of 2,150 jobs.

Mr Hall said the plunge in spending was driven by a 31 per cent drop in interstate leisure visitors to WA.

“Western Australia has underinvested in tourism and our state market share and interstate visitor numbers have declined accordingly,” he said.

“State government funding for Tourism WA has been unpredictable and insufficient to retain our interstate visitors.

“Other states are enjoying a tourism boom off the back of the low Australian dollar, while WA is floundering.”

Tourism Minister Kim Hames played down the fall in interstate visitors, saying it was important to not get caught up in short-term fluctuations.

“Tourism WA is constantly researching what markets are performing best and why, so the marketing budget can be targeted accordingly,” Dr Hames said.

He said the state government’s tourism marketing budget of $24 million was higher than what was spent in NSW and Queensland, on a per capita basis.

“It’s also why we have a wide spread of markets, including interstate, South-East Asia, the UK and Germany,” Dr Hames said.

“If one market is down, often another will be up, which is what we’ve seen with these results.” 

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