03/10/2018 - 14:05

Williams to hit Hopman Cup

03/10/2018 - 14:05


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US tennis star Serena Williams is the latest high-profile player to commit to the upcoming Hopman Cup, with the news coinciding with data showing an increase in the number of tourist visits to Western Australia.

Williams to hit Hopman Cup
Paul Papalia says last year’s tournament generated $4 million of visitor expenditure. Photo: Attila Csaszar

US tennis star Serena Williams is the latest high-profile player to commit to the upcoming Hopman Cup, with the news coinciding with data showing an increase in the number of tourist visits to Western Australia.

The state government said today 23-time grand slam winner Williams would represent the US in the mixed-teams tournament, following news earlier this year Roger Federer would return to the Perth event.

Australia’s Ashleigh Barty will take to the court with teammate Matthew Ebden, while world number three Angelique Kerber and world number five Alexander Zverev will return for Germany.

Tourism Minister Paul Papalia said last year’s tournament attracted a record crowd of more than 106,000 people and generated $4 million of visitor expenditure.

"What better reason for interstate and overseas tennis fans to travel to WA than the unique opportunity to see Serena Williams and partner Frances Tiafoe represent the US and take on Swiss team Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic for the first time,” he said.

"With Williams and Federer considered to be two of the greatest tennis players of all time, this highly anticipated match will attract worldwide attention and promote Perth and our state on the global stage.

"World-class events such as the Mastercard Hopman Cup play a vital role in driving visitation and changing perceptions of Perth, which is part of the state government's two-year action plan to grow the number of visitors to WA.”

Shadow Tourism Minister Libby Mettam said Federer and Williams should make trips to regional WA.

“Tourism figures out today show a significant decline in interstate and international visitor spend and length of stay and one of the best known ways to increase both of these is to encourage people who come to WA to leave Perth and visit our regions,” she said.

“The consistent decline in visitor spend in WA can in large part be attributed to the metro-centric approach the McGowan government has to promoting this state.

“I implore the government to take this opportunity to promote some of our world-class natural assets such as the Abrolhos Islands or whale sharks in Exmouth.”

The Hopman Cup will be held at Perth Arena from December 29 until January 5.

Meanwhile, the latest Tourism Research Australia data reveals an 8.1 per cent uptick in domestic visitors to 10.2 million for the 12 months to June, however, visitor expenditure fell 2 per cent to $7 billion.

That was despite an 8 per cent increase in spending nationally.

Ms Mettam said the amalgamation of the tourism department continued to affect the local industry.

"WA’s national tourism figures again underline the need for an independent agency that is dedicated to promote and market this state,” she said.

“Once again we are seeing WA buck the national trend for all the wrong reasons, with the latest tourism figures indicating that WA’s tourism spend is seeing a 2 per cent drop against considerable national growth of 8 per cent.

“In the absence of the Perth Stadium, these figures would be disastrous and the minister for tourism needs to accept responsibility and outline a comprehensive strategy to increase visitation, time of stay and spend by tourists.

“There is no doubt that the Perth Stadium has been the reason for growth in the overall increase in intrastate and interstate tourism numbers, another tourism initiative of the former government criticised by the then Labor opposition.”

Australian Hotels Association WA chief executive Bradley Woods said the data showed positive signs for the sector.

“This data shows more Western Australians are travelling within the state and encouragingly, more Australians are travelling from other states and territories to experience what WA has to offer,” he said.

“Anecdotal evidence coupled with today’s NVS data tells us that increased visitation is being driven by sporting events at Optus Stadium and a record number of headline acts at Perth’s RAC Arena.”

“The state government’s focus on boosting tourism through the east coast Hotel Perth campaign in the first half of 2018, has led to the Perth area experiencing more than a 20 per cent increase in interstate visitation during this period.”




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