International tourism to Western Australia is on the rise, but not as much as other states, prompting the Australian Hotels Association to call for more funding from the state government to market WA overseas.
International Visitor Survey data released today showed the number of international visitors to WA was up 6.8 per in the 12 months to the end of March, but that was below the national growth rate of 7.8 per cent.
AHA chief executive Bradley Woods said the state government needed to focus on better marketing to ensure WA didn't fall behind its east coast counterparts.
"More Chinese tourists are travelling to Australia than ever before, but of the 829,000 Chinese tourists who visited Australia, only 40,700, or 4.9 per cent, visited Western Australia," he said.
The IVS data showed a 9.2 per cent decline in business travel key international markets, including New Zealand, Singapore and the US.
Mr Woods said that was a concern, as those travellers were generally the biggest spenders per visit.
"Western Australia's tourism potential is underutilised," he said.
"Tourism WA's limited destination advertising budget needs increasing so as to allow WA to compete with other Australian states.
"Of the 6.5 million people who visited Australia in this collection period, only 12.8 per cent of them visited Western Australia.
"The other 87.2 per cent need to know what they're missing out on in Western Australia."
Mr Woods called on the state government to increase its tourism marketing budget by $20 million.
Earlier this year, Tourism Minister Kim Hames said $24 million in state government funds had been earmarked to market the state in this year's budget, however, $13 million of that has already been spent, leaving just $11 million for the next two years.
At the time, Dr Hames said the funds would be primarily used to try and lure domestic visitors to WA from the eastern states.