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Positive news on tourism to WA

INTERNATIONAL visitors are spending more and staying longer in Western Australia than in any other state, according to the latest visitor figures from Tourism Research Australia. WA recorded 634,000 international visitors for the year ending March 2007, up 1.5 per cent on the year ending March 2006 – the second highest figure on record. International visitors spent more than $1.42 billion in that period, or about $2,238 per visitor, up on $1.19 billion in 2006. The UK ranked as the state’s biggest market for international tourists, capturing 27 per cent of the market with 170,000 visitors, up 7 per cent on last year. Singapore ranked as the second largest market, with 9 per cent of visitors, and New Zealand and Japan in third place with 7 per cent apiece. Despite a marginal increase in business travellers to the state on the back of the resources boom, holidaymakers and the visiting friends and relatives markets still dominate, with 49 per cent and 25 per cent respectively. Tourism Minister Sheila McHale said that, while the strong figures were encouraging, the state’s tourism industry still faced a number of challenges, including the growth of low-cost carriers in the Asian region and the strong Australian dollar.

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