Western Australia has faced a hit to its tourism revenue, despite Australia generating a record in international spending across the country.
International tourists spent $40 billion in Australia last year, but the International Visitors Survey found spending in WA fell by 5 per cent from December 2016 to December 2017.
WA was only state or territory to record a fall in revenue, with revenue in all other states increasing.
Tasmania was the highest-performing state with biggest percentage growth, with a 31 per cent annual rise.
The ACT and South Australia had also recorded high growth at 23 per cent and 18 per cent respectively, while Victoria (11 per cent) and the Northern Territory (10 per cent) edged them into double digits.
New South Wales and Queensland growth increased by nine per cent and four per cent respectively.
Tourism Paul Papalia said the state is under-performing while targeting Chinese tourists.
“We know we’re lagging dismally, we get about 4.7 per cent of the national Chinese visitor market,” he said.
“I think we should at least try and aim for getting our per-capita share, which will be more like 11 per cent.”
Mr Papalia also said the State Government were looking to other countries and cities to boost WA tourism.
“We’re chasing direct flights from places like Shanghai, from Tokyo and India to increase out visitation numbers.”
He said WA could be sold as an “alternative gateway” into the country from other cities including Sydney and Melbourne.
Drop in International Visitors to WA “Disastrous”: Opposition
The State Opposition said an 8 per cent fall in international visitors to WA were “disastrous” for the state and the government had left the WA tourism without direction and resources.
“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 needs of our State,” Shadow Tourism Spokesperson Libby Mettam said.
She added the government had “undermined” the importance of international students by implying they were “job thieves.
“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 international student that comes here, there is an 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 number are booming.”
Ms Mettam said Mr Papalia need to stop blaming the former government and start taking responsibility for its current tourism problems.
“He can start with reinstating a dedicated CEO for tourism and developing some effective marketing campaigns around the great new assets this state has,” she said.