THE decision to reorganise the WA Tourism Commission’s marketing strategy will attract more tourists to our shores, despite the closure of several marketing offices interstate and overseas, according to Tourism Minister Bob Kucera
Mr Kucera said the new approach was partly in response to technology that allows a more innovative approach to the way in which the industry can market itself.
“Importantly, it will free up nearly $1 million a year in fixed administration costs, which can be better used in direct marketing activity,” he said.
“The changes are a positive response to the fact that WA is competing for visitors in a tough global market and we need as many dollars as possible in marketing rather than bricks and mortar.”
While offices in Singapore and Malaysia will close, a new office will open in Shanghai as part of a focus on that emerging marketplace.
Tourism Council Western Australia executive officer, Sally Hollis, said the council supported some elements of WATC’s ‘new direction in marketing WA to the world’, particularly the opening of the office in China.
“This market [China] has huge potential for our State due to its population size and geographical location,” she said.
“The council will be holding a forum next week to enable our membership to have their questions answered by the commission regarding the changes.”
A combination of national and international factors made last year a tough one for tourism in WA.
The TCWA has been lobbying government for intervention and support of State’s tourism sector. The council represents more than 4,000 members in WA.
“A stronger voice for tourism creates a stronger tourism industry,” Ms Hollis said.
“In turn, a stronger tourism industry creates more jobs, increased overseas and interstate revenue as well as spin-offs for the wider business sector and the community.”
Several key policy issues are being drafted into a report by the TCWA to be released at the end of May. Among these issues are a lack of funding, industry standards and accreditation, restructuring of regional centres, development and strata, and training and education.
Ms Hollis said the Government currently contributed $35 million a year to tourism, an amount that had remained unchanged for the past four years.
“This amount is much lower than the funding our major competitors receive,” she said.
“The TCWA is about leadership. We are trying to advance the industry in status, performance and profitability, and we need more funding to do this.”
Others in the industry have questioned the relevance of the research that directs government funding.
Chairman of Tourism at Curtin University (and TCWA board member) Professor Jack Carlsen believes data collection should take place in its target market.
“There is not enough good research on tourism trends, and all decisions are based on limited, and in some cases, misleading data,” he said.
“This means that marketing is not strategic and may or may not hit its target.”
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