14/05/2008 - 22:00

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14/05/2008 - 22:00

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WHILE there’s a push from some quarters to bring more high-yielding tourists to the state’s South West, I was interested to notice the attitude of the locals towards this on a recent trip to Dunsborough.

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WHILE there's a push from some quarters to bring more high-yielding tourists to the state's South West, I was interested to notice the attitude of the locals towards this on a recent trip to Dunsborough.

Perhaps it's the parochial nature of regional communities, but the entry of two major hospitality players - Australian Leisure & Hospitality Group Ltd, which bought the Dunsborough Hotel, and the Seashells Group, which recently refurbished and added to Yallingup's Caves House - has sent the region into a bit of a spin.

These iconic venues are South West institutions, which is probably the reason they attracted the buyers' attentions in the first place.

But the new owners' presence is, by and large, not welcome - to the point where the locals now 'boycott' the Dunsborough Hotel.

You'd be hard-pressed to find a country pub almost completely empty on a Saturday night, which it was during my recent visit (ironically, the bottle shop next door, also owned by ALH, did a roaring trade).

It's a similar scenario at Caves House, where a Sunday session that you'd expect to attract thousands of punters, has been shunned.

Perhaps it's the real, or perceived, exclusion of the local community from the planning process.

Should tourism operators care? Maybe not.

Will the locals eventually get sick of staying at home on the weekends? Possibly.

But it may serve as a example to other developers and corporations looking at the area.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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