September 22, 2017
Tourism hidden by McGowan Government
The continuing decline of visitors coming to Western Australia should sound alarm bells for the McGowan Government.
Shadow Minister for Tourism, Libby Mettam said now was the wrong time for the Government to bury Tourism WA within a mega department.
“Latest figures show there has been growth in tourism numbers to every other state, while WA has seen decline of 12.7 percent, the equivalent of 150,000 eastern states visitors, and a 5 percent reduction in overnight stays,” Ms Mettam said.
“In real terms we will see the value of funding provided to destination events in Western Australia decrease by more than $5 million over 4 years.*
“The Minister for Tourism has, alarmingly, confirmed $425 million will be appropriated to the mega-Department and not directly to Tourism WA. We cannot be assured that funding will be syphoned off to other areas and not be used specifically for destination marketing.
“We are seeing growth in every other state at the same time as a reduction of 150,000 eastern states visitors. Visitor numbers to Tasmania has grown by 30%,” Ms Mettam said.
Ms Mettam said that Government policies were also seeing international students bypassing Perth to other capital cities.
“In response to the Government’s new Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme and changes to the state skills list, our hospitality sector is having difficulty attracting the highly skilled staff they need to provide a 5 star experience.
“The Minister is out of touch with what is required in tourism.
“This is the Minister who described the direct flights between London and Perth last year, secured under the former Liberal-led Government as a “dud deal for WA. His own Government’s budget shows potential visitor expenditure from the new service would be up to $36.4 million per annum.
“While we are seeing positive impacts from the former Government’s initiatives, the McGowan Government has come in, and in real terms, are slashing funding by more than $5 million over four years.*
“Under the McGowan Government’s changes to Government departments the Tourism Commission has become a bit player in a mega-department, led by a junior Minister, and competing for focus and funds from the Department he shares with the Premier, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Water and Minister for Mines.
“Furthermore the sector has lost a CEO and the Commission has lost its independence,” Ms Mettam said.
“The new structure raises concerns about the politicisation of event funding as well as the potential for this funding to bleed to other agencies.
“It will destroy the state’s tourism strategy if events are chosen because they are in a marginal Labor seat rather than on their merit and ability to attract interstate and international visitors.
“Concerns have already been raised with me from within this sector,” Ms Mettam said.
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