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Resort highlights tourist growth

BUNBURY’S Lighthouse Beach Resort is to undergo a $30 million upgrade which will include self contained apartments.

Lighthouse Beach Resort owner Edward Kozyrski said the resort would offer both permanent residents and tourists beachfront apartments with full resort services.

“We plan to build 81 apartments offering full hotel services, such as room service, in-house movies, Internet access, regular cleaning, gymnasium, two pool area, restaurant, wine bar and secure underground parking,” Mr Kozyrski said.

“The original building will be preserved, including 38 motel rooms, for those after a more cost-effective alternative.”

He said the upgrade would help rejuvenate the area and build on the success of nearby developments such as Marlston Hill.

“Bunbury is experiencing a wonderful boom at the moment and our development and others will help re-establish Bunbury as a premier holiday destination,” he said.

Apartments will sell from $150,000 for a one-bedroom apartment and preference will be given to local residents.

The redevelopment is expected to generate $120-$150 million to local businesses.

More than 300 people will be employed during the construction phase and 50 permanent staff once completed.

Within the past two years the number of South West establishments has increased by eight bring the total number to 58 with about 7,317 beds. During the same period the number employed in the industry in the South West has increased from 1,100 to almost 1,400.

Room occupancy rates in the South West during the last recording period in March shows South West rates are significantly lower than in Perth although not as low as other regions.

During the March quarter South West operators had a 55 per cent occupancy rate whereas in Perth it averaged 67 per cent. The Gascoyne had a 28 per cent occupancy rate – the lowest in the State.

According to the Tourism Indicators compiled by the Australian Bureau of Statistics there are 325 accommodation establishments in WA with 15 or more rooms. Capacity of those establishments rose from 17,783 to 18,958 guestrooms – an increase of seven per cent.

Takings during the June quarter totalled $88 million – an increase of eight per cent over the year. Average takings per establishment increased three per cent for $264,200 to $271,100.

The number of one and two star establishments continued to fall as pressure has been put on operators to upgrade or risk losing business.

According to the ABS in September 1998 there were 44, two star accommodation providers. Today the number has dropped to 33.

Concurrently the number of four star providers has jumped from 36 to 64 while the number of five star providers has doubled from seven to 14.

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