Perth and Shanghai have developed dramatically in recent decades, and former premier Colin Barnett says a strong relationship between WA and China has enabled the state’s success.
Major recent investments and fresh ideas have added to WA’s traditional tourist attractions and natural beauty.
Photo: Gabriel Oliveira
Australians love sport, whether playing or watching, and the new Perth Stadium takes our national obsession to the next level.
Earlier this year, the venue won the Prix Versailles Sport Award for the world’s most beautiful stadium.
More than 120,000 people travelled from outside Perth to visit the venue in its first year, according to the operators.
With 1.4 kilometres of lighting embedded into the facade, the arena has a uniquely colourful presence on the Swan River.
It has already hosted several major sporting fixtures, including visits from the Manchester United and Chelsea soccer clubs.
Elizabeth Quay & Swan Bell Tower
After four years of construction and $440 million, the Elizabeth Quay riverside renewal project has emerged as a focal point of central Perth.
The quay features a water park, a ferry terminal, the Spanda artwork and pedestrian bridge, with plans for $2 billion of adjacent development projects.
Photo: Gabriel Oliveira
It has also served as a hub for cultural events and concerts, such as Perth Festival.
One element of the quay has been around since 2000, the Swan Bell Tower, which features 12 bells from the famous London church St Martin-in-the-Fields.
The Bell Tower had about 17,000 international visitors in the 2019 financial year.
Hotels and resorts
There has been a boom in the construction of stylish hotels during the past decade, led by Crown Towers at Burswood.
The casino complex underwent a $1.7 billion, 10-year redevelopment, with 500 rooms in the new Crown Towers hotel.
Crown’s VIP program, which is in large part driven by clients from outside WA, earned about $103 million in the 2018 financial year.
In the city, there was the Westin Hotel at Hibernia Place and Como the Treasury at the state buildings, both luxury developments supplemented by dining precincts.
Other big developments included the QT Hotel on Barrack Street, and Alex Hotel.
Perth’s food and beverage scene has developed dramatically in the past decade.
There have been events such as Festival Fromage celebrating cheese, the WA Cider & Pork Festival, the upcoming Espresso Martini Festival, and the Western Australia Gourmet Escape.
The city’s restaurant scene has evolved, with new high-end offerings and more venues offering top-quality produce at accessible prices.
Bars have specialised in gin, whiskey or vodka, while a local craft beer scene has flourished.
Regionally, visitors can tour wineries or truffle farms such as Amelia Park Winery.
Amelia Park Winery
Fashion, retail and an activated city
International brands such as H&M and Uniqlo have staked out spots in Perth during the past decade, while the Raine Square development highlights the presence of luxury retailers.
The Perth Fashion Festival has operated for 21 years, and showcases internationally successful local brands such as Morrison, Ae’lkemi and Empire Rose.
The city is abuzz with activity on summer nights, with hawkers’ markets, street markets, Perth Festival, Fringe Festival, and the Christmas Lights Trail.
Perth is slowly achieving progress on improving opening hours in retail, with Sunday trading commencing in 2012.
Fremantle has been re-energised in recent decades, almost two centuries after settlers arrived.
The port city is the second most popular locale for international visitors in WA, with about 68,000 tourist visits annually.
Fremantle is surely the cultural heart of the Perth region, with a bustling strip filled with tourist crowds, buskers and locals every weekend, even at a time when street malls in other parts of Perth are struggling.
There are at least 12 arts venues in Fremantle, with art walking tours a popular attraction.
One major work is Marcus Canning’s Rainbow Sea Container, a 66-tonne statue.
There’s also the 40-metre Tourist Wheel, which opened in 2013.
City link & Yagan Square
Bookending William Street with Elizabeth Quay, Yagan Square was the final stage of a project to sink the railway line west of Perth station.
The square is nestled next to the Horseshoe Bridge, with bars, a food court and an amphitheatre.
A giant Wirin statue towers over visitors, with the open spaces used for more than 200 events in the year to June, including markets, pop-ups and the Pride March.
In the precinct nearby, there has been a renewal of the laneways in Chinatown, the creation of Kings Square, and the construction of RAC Arena, which opened in 2012.