After many years in the spotlight, many of WA’s once popular holiday destinations are currently experiencing a large decrease in visitors. Tourist operators across the State have encountered dwindling numbers of visitors and an increase in vacancies as more and more people continue to head to the Eastern States and overseas. Figures from Tourism Council WA show almost 20 per cent more businesses reporting less activity in the June quarter compared with the first three months of the year. This was the first time a greater number of businesses had reported a drop in activity since the hard border was lifted. Despite many businesses across the South West experiencing a harsh decrease, the Busselton Jetty has recently recorded its best-ever financial year in terms of paid visitor numbers. At the end of the financial year the jetty was up to 323,241 paid visitors. “That’s people that have paid for a train ride or an underwater observatory tour or walk ticket and that’s the first time we have ever beaten 300,000,” Busselton Jetty chief executive Lisa Shreeve said. “We’re still booking out in the underwater observatory in winter, so we’re not seeing a downturn, but we are seeing more interstate and internationals here and less WA people.” Mrs Shreeve said one of the reasons the jetty was experiencing an increase might be down to the fact it was a bucket list attraction for many interstate and international visitors. “Most bucket list attractions around the world are the catalyst to dispersing visitors around the local area,” she said. “We have one of six natural aquariums in the world and the longest tourist Jetty in the southern hemisphere, so people want that selfie moment to show they have been here.” Earlier this year, 13 underwater sculptures were submerged underneath the jetty to create an artificial reef, which added a layer of attraction to the underwater observatory, with it receiving plenty of publicity worldwide. Even with this financial year recently starting, the Busselton Jetty has already seen another increase in numbers. “Every year we aim for an increase in visitor numbers and so far this year we have continued to see a rise in numbers of about 16 per cent on the previous July and August for train and underwater observatory tours,” Mrs Shreeve said.