International tourists to WA have spent less time and money in the state, despite tourism figures revealing holiday makers spending $113.4 billion throughout the country.
The latest tourism figures released on Wednesday have revealed WA’s tourism industry is struggling to convince international visitors to stay longer and spend more with low growth in international visitors and spending.
International visitation to WA grew by 0.6 per cent in the year ending September 2018 to 954,800 tourists, increasing by 6,000.
While experiencing marginal growth in international visitors, the total amount of money spent by them fell by 6.8 per cent or $166 million.
It contrasted local tourism, with interstate travellers rising by 8.8 per cent to 1.5 million visitors and intrastate tourists rising by 10.1 per cent to 9.07 million overnight visitors.
Interstate spending also rose by 7.8 per cent to $1.56 billion, while intrastate overnight spend also increased to $4.10 billion.
Across the country, overseas travellers spend $43.2 billion in the year to September, an increase of five percent.
Chinese tourists continued to top the number of visitors with 1.3 million for an increase of eight per cent on the previous year.
However, with the exception of China, international tourists are not staying as long with Americans spending 13 per cent less nights in the country, while New Zealand and British visitors’ trips fell by seven per cent.
Tourism Minister Paul Papalia said that part of the blame for the fall in international tourism was competition with other states for visitors from major international markets.
“People coming from international markets either come to Western Australia or to the other side of the country,” Mr Papalia said.
“They go to Sydney, all the other states generally benefit, many people travel up and down the eastern seaboard, whereas they’revery unlikely to come across the Nullabor.”
He added that WA needed to grow the amount of available flights to the state.
“What’s driving a lot of the eastern seaboard is massive growth in particularly from China for example. We have one airline flying direct from China, it’s China Southern, they fly direct, five days a week. When we took office, it was three,” Mr Papalia said.
“By comparison, Melbourne has 14 direct flights a day from China. Sydney has 12.”
He also said a drop in spending was the result of WA’s recent affordability.
“We’re more affordable than we used to be,” Mr Papalia said.
“We’re much more affordable than Sydney, than Melbourne, we’re about the same as Brisbane and our average hotel price is lower than the national average.”
“So, we’re not the boom town anymore, people don’t have to spend what they used to have to spend.”
However, Mr Papalia said there was still optimism with hopes to translate its interstate travel trends into the government’s ongoing plans to open up WA to the rest of the world.
“The stats that we’ve got from September last year, so some four months ago are reason for optimism for tourism in Western Australia,” he said.
“The stats that we’ve got from September last year, so some four months ago are reason for optimism for tourism in Western Australia.”
“With our two year action plan, we are focused on making Western Australia, Perth, the western gateway of Australia and focused very much on getting direct flights from new markets.”