March 14, 2018

McGowan Government failing WA tourism sector

Figures showing an almost 8 per cent drop in international visitors to Western Australia in 2017 are disastrous for the State’s tourism sector, according to Shadow Tourism Minister Libby Mettam.

Ms Mettam said conditions in WA were ripe for a tourism boom but the State Government had dropped the ball and left the tourism portfolio directionless and under-resourced.

“Premier Mark McGowan bowled into office with rhetoric about fat cats and a bloated public sector and sacked the CEO of Tourism WA, decimated the management and sucked Tourism WA into a mega department with no focus on marketing the tourism assets of our State,” Ms Mettam said.

“There is now no fulltime CEO or Executive Director of Marketing and Partnerships; the top two promotional roles within tourism are now part-time positions.”

Ms Mettam said the Premier had also undermined the value to the state of international students by implying they were job thieves and had sold off the naming rights to Perth Stadium without ever presenting a business case to prove the value of the deal.

“The Premier rushed to remove Perth from the regional migration scheme and since then there has been a 12 per cent decline in student visas to this state,” Ms Mettam said.

“For every one international student that comes here, there is on average another five tourists visits from family and friends and for every three international students that come to the state one job is created.

“International students are now bypassing Perth and heading to the competing states of South Australia and Tasmania, where international visitor numbers are booming.

“We have a good supply of affordable hotel rooms, hospitality costs are down and our tourism product in terms of the vibrancy of Perth with the Perth Stadium and Elizabeth Quay and vibrant regions is exceptional,” Ms Mettam said.

“These latest figures show most of the collapse in international visitors happened in the last three months to December.

“The Minister for Tourism must stop looking backward and trying to blame the former Government for everything and lead the tourism sector in the marketing of our great state.

“He can start with reinstating a dedicated CEO for tourism and developing some effective marketing campaigns around the great new assets this state has.”

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