Feature Article - FACTBase Bulletin 55


FACTBase Bulletin 55 — Sizing Tourism in Western Australia forms research conducted as part of the Bigger & Better Beyond the Boom project to identify key sectors within the Perth and Peel and wider Western Australian economy.

The Bulletin found that tourism is a growth industry for both Western Australia and Australia; however, we will face a number of challenges in light of an increasingly competitive international and domestic tourism market. Using data from Tourism Western Australia and Tourism Research Australia, the research examined the current and historical tourism market in Perth and Western Australia for domestic travellers, both interstate and intrastate, as well as international visitors.

Domestic tourism is the biggest contributor to the Australian economy, with 88.9 million domestic overnight trips made in 2015-16, resulting in a contribution of $31.9 billion from intrastate trips and $27.1 billion in interstate visits.

In Western Australia, the tourism industry contributed 4.6% of total direct and indirect gross value added (GVA) to the economy, a total of $10.64 billion and generated 109,000 jobs, with both figures seeing significant increases over the past six years. Despite this, recent trends have indicated that Western Australia is underperforming in the interstate domestic tourism sector, likely due to the large distances separating Western Australia from other states and territories and the reduction in business travel from a post-mining-boom Perth.

International tourist numbers to the state have also grown over the past five years, increasing by 32% from 2011 to 2016; however, this growth has been much slower than national figures that saw tourists increase by 43% over the same period. Significant differences exist in the types of visitors that WA is attracting, with longer-stay visitors spending an average of 30 nights in the state, topping national figures for any other state or territory. While these visitors spent less money on a nightly basis in Western Australia compared with other states, longer stays meant that the average spend per visitor for WA was $2,611 for YE March 2017 — the second highest nationally, behind Victoria $2,684.

The research also found that ‘purpose of visit’ has a significant impact on the economic contribution of tourism to the state. Those who are travelling domestically for holiday and business purposes spend the most, averaging $841 and $805 per visitor respectively, while those visiting friends and relatives spend less than half of this, at $394. International visitors who came to study or work spend the most, averaging $19,983 and $8,634 respectively.

It was found that WA’s beaches, wildlife, unspoilt natural wilderness and island experience offerings are significant attractors for visitors to the Perth region and into WA. In order to ensure that tourism continues to grow and contribute towards the WA economy, significant effort must now be funnelled towards selling Perth and Western Australia’s best assets to the rest of the nation and globally.

Our most recent Perth in Focus luncheon discussed a myriad of opportunities, threats and challenges that the tourism industry faces, with input from experts Kate Lamont, Director of Lamonts; Evan Hall, CEO of Tourism Council; Dale Tillbrook of Maalinup Art Gallery; Kevin Brown, CEO of Perth Airport; and our own CEO, Marion Fulker. Watch the presentation to hear from these industry experts on the opportunities for tourism in Western Australia, and read the report.

Other articles from Insight, September 2017 (view email newsletter):