21/01/2009 - 22:00

North-west avoids the drama ... so far

21/01/2009 - 22:00

Bookmark

Upgrade your subscription to use this feature.

THE struggles being experienced by tourism operators in some parts of Western Australia seem to have missed the north-west, for time being at least, with businesses in Exmouth and Broome positive about the year ahead.

North-west avoids the drama ... so far

THE struggles being experienced by tourism operators in some parts of Western Australia seem to have missed the north-west, for time being at least, with businesses in Exmouth and Broome positive about the year ahead.

Those two key north-west tourist centres have just finished a surprisingly strong Christmas holiday period in what is usually the slow season.

Mercure Broome general manager Tina Broadhurst said the weather, of all things, had provided the opportunity for the Mercure to secure a large contingent of offshore rig workers who had to be manned down.

"Christmas was absolutely fabulous for us thanks to Cyclone Billy," Ms Broadhurst told Business Class.

"It was like peak season for us at short notice and we exceeded budget; it was fantastic."

And it seems the good run doesn't show any signs of slowing.

"We have some good strong bookings for March onwards, and the season is looking very positive for us," Ms Broadhurst said.

"We actually built 70 new rooms that came online in July last year and since then we've been travelling fantastically.

"The sun is shining on Broome, that's for sure."

With more than 25 years industry experience, Ms Broadhurst is well aware of the challenges ahead, despite the recent positive news.

"People generally become quite nervous about spending their money, obviously, but they still need to have some kind of relief from their day-to-day activities and so they're perhaps looking closer at home to do some travelling," she said.

But the industry will need to knuckle down in order to ensure their longevity.

"There's a quote - adversity reveals genius, prosperity conceals it," Ms Broadhurst said.

"So now is the time that all the clever people are going to shine."

Cable Beach Club Resort director of sales Nicole Tingey believes the tourism industry is currently facing a crisis.

"While WA is definitely feeling the impact of the global crisis, it doesn't appear to be as hard hitting as the impact on tourism in New South Wales and Queensland," Ms Tingey said.

"Forward bookings are down, however we are experiencing an increase in short lead in bookings, so are optimistic at this stage."

Ms Tingey is currently offering 50 per cent off to attract customers to the resort and hopes promotions in the eastern states will encourage consumers to consider WA as an alternative destination to overseas travel.

It's a sentiment shared by Novotel Ningaloo's general manager, Darren Cossill, who aims to continue record-high results in Exmouth.

"Our Christmas and New Year was the busiest we've ever had, and January is on par with last year," Mr Cossill said.

"I'm hoping that people will travel intrastate as opposed to interstate, that they'll look to a different alternative to going overseas. And maybe with the weakening dollar it'll attract international tourists to Australia."

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options