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Perth can be Singapore’s Playground

A lot has been said of late about increasing tourism as a means to diversify our economy and create more jobs.

International visitor numbers are improving, up 3% on the previous year to 973,000 with their collective spend amounting to $2.2 billion last year.  This is in part a result of Government and the private sector working hard to promote Perth’s improved offering. Perth’s recent reinstatement as a regional city will also make it more attractive for international students and that will drive tourism from visiting family and friends.

The Committee for Perth’s Hashtag Perth project is underway to measure, and importantly enhance, Perth’s reputation as a destination to live, work, study, invest and visit. The research phase took me to land constrained Singapore for a series of interviews and a focus group.

It is clear from those meetings that Perth needs to better leverage the many trade, business, education and personal connections to Singapore.

In the mind of those living in Singapore who attended the focus group, Perth has an abundance of natural beauty with a dry climate, blue skies and clean air which makes it a desirable place for our Asian neighbours to visit.   

Perth has a unique and diverse offering for Singapore’s 5.8 million residents - in fact, Perth could be their backyard or playground.  As one focus group attendee said, “Perth is two movies and a meal away”.

What I learned was that the things that would make Perth a more attractive place for Singaporeans to visit was curated itineraries for foodies, shoppers, nature lovers, golfers and the like.

Singaporean parents have an array of local and international institutions to select from when choosing where to educate their children and Perth could better promote our high schools, TAFEs and universities. We were told that promotion is as much about the place as it is about the offering.

It seems that the best thing we could do is to tell the ‘domain of origin’ story. Perth and WA are seen as a providing Singapore with premium food and wines grown in a unique, clean and different landscape – just a short direct flight from their doorstep.

Our ‘promotional packaging’ therefore needs to tell the story so that every mouthful of Western Australia a Singaporean takes reinforces the need to see the place where it was grown. Because experience drives positive promotion that money just can’t buy.

Marion Fulker is the CEO of the Committee for Perth, the Project Director of Hashtag Perth and an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at The University of Western Australia.

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