16/09/2010 - 00:00

New pricing at Rotto

16/09/2010 - 00:00

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A mid extensive investment at Rottnest Island, businesses have developed strategies to counter the falling numbers of visitors to the island caused by cheap international travel opportunities and the global financial crisis.

New pricing at Rotto

A mid extensive investment at Rottnest Island, businesses have developed strategies to counter the falling numbers of visitors to the island caused by cheap international travel opportunities and the global financial crisis.

The Rottnest Island Authority has estimated that about half a million visitors, predominantly Western Australians travelling via commercial ferry services, make their way to the island each year.

RIA chairman Laurie O’Meara said that in 2009-10 that number fell by about 60,000.

“That’s an indication of where tourism was at in town at the time, so that hurt and had a detrimental affect on our revenue through that (summer) period,” Mr O’Meara said.

“That was the first year that it has dropped in recent times as our numbers have been good each year.

“So we’re hoping it was an aberration.”

Rottnest Express chief executive officer Tim Crosland said a 30 per cent drop in tourism generally, the strong Australian dollar and attractive pricing to travel to Asia contributed to reduced tourist numbers.

“The island numbers in the last financial year are down approximately 16 per cent,” he said.

“Our (passenger) numbers were down about 15 per cent and turnover was down about 11 per cent.

“We have approximately $15.5 million in capital assets with $1.5 million for annual maintenance and running costs.

“So when you have a market that’s down like that you still run your business and have a bottom line that’s OK, but what happens is the ability to reinvest in that which continually needs to be reinvested in comes under pressure.”

Mr Crosland and his fellow executive members of the Rottnest Island Business Community (a group of local businesses aiming to enhance Rottnest visitor numbers and experience) have developed new pricing policies along the lines of low-cost airlines to Asia that will allow same-day return trips to Rottnest from $30 as opposed to $70 normally.

“We’ve realised the local market is not motivated unless it has a deal, a call to action, a motivator,” Mr Crosland said.

In tandem with the RIA’s relaxing of its $15 admission fee (which increased almost 30 per cent in July last year) the RIBC and the RIA will launch a $650,000 mass media advertising campaign in October to drive visitation over summer.

Rottnest Bakery operator and 40-year Rottnest veteran Ivan Rutherford, who is also on the RIBC, was confident about the future.

“We’ve got a management and a board that are pretty much in tune with the needs of the businesses in Rottnest, and the needs of holidaying public,” he explained.

“For the first time ever we’re all singing off the same page.

“And everybody is extremely confident or else they wouldn’t have invested the money.”

Of the $100 million already (or soon to be) invested in Rottnest, Aristos Papandroulakis sunk over a million dollars into his Aristos Waterfront Rottnest.

“Rottnest is heading towards a boom,” Mr Papandroulakis said.

“But the government has to spend more money and make it affordable for the average family.”

 

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