Crown Resorts chairman Robert Rankin has called on the state government to do more to activate the city and Swan Valley so that international tourists can spend a full three or four days in and around Perth.
Crown Resorts chairman Robert Rankin has called on the state government to do more to activate the city and Swan Valley so international tourists can spend a full three or four days in and around Perth.
Speaking at a business forum in Perth today, Mr Rankin said there were many positive developments in the city but more needed to be done.
"Tourism on a big scale needs to happen," Mr Rankin told the Deutsche Bank forum at Crown Perth.
“There are some extraordinary things to do in WA but they are not of the scale by number that are going to really move the needle.
“This city of Perth needs to be activated as a great gateway city."
Mr Rankin said positive developments included Crown's own investment of $700 million at its Perth resort, and the development of Elizabeth Quay and Perth Stadium, which he hoped would host world-class football matches, including with English Premier League clubs.
Mr Rankin said activating Perth required action on several fronts, including in education, aviation and local attractions.
“We think we can do a better job here in terms of attracting foreign students," he said.
Mr Rankin called on the government to think more about activating the Swan Valley and the Swan River.
He also called for more direct flights to Asian cities, including to Jakarta, and closer engagement with India.
"I think these opportunities are truly immense and cause for great optimism,” he said.
Mr Rankin said the cost of visas for international visitors needed to be reduced.
He said it would cost $1,000 for a Chinese person to obtain a 10-year visa to Australia compared with $240 in the US and $30 in Singapore.
“So there needs to be a cost harmonisation in our view and there needs to be a process harmonisation, it needs to be easier online,” Mr Rankin said.
The Perth area needed more attractions and activities, he added
“We really need to get a three to four day offering in this city and the good news is that’s pretty easy to do,” Mr Rankin told the forum.
He said he remained positive about WA's long-term prospects because of the growth of China, India and Indonesia, which in 20-25 years would be three of the four biggest economies of the world.
Perth Airport non-executive director Shirley In't Veld told the forum the airport was working with a number of Asian airlines, encouraging them to take up the newer, narrow-bodied long-range jets that were coming onto the market because that would faciltate more direct flights to Perth.
Ms In't Veld also called for more Mandarin-speaking guides at the airport and at tourist locations.