Tourism hails $12m boost

Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton Dunsborough Times
A $12m tourism funding boost has been hailed by the BMRTA as a "strong result"
Camera IconA $12m tourism funding boost has been hailed by the BMRTA as a "strong result" Credit: Supplied

The Margaret River-Busselton Tourism Association says this week’s funding boost for tourism in specialty markets will drive “strong results” for the region.

The State Government announced an extra $12 million this week to promote WA to overseas visitors targeting key markets Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Hong Kong.

The State’s 2019-20 funding includes $9 million of new money and $3 million from Tourism WA’s existing budget — more than twice the amount traditionally spent on international marketing each year.

The money comes as Tourism WA seeks to overhaul its marketing approach, with hired gun Guy Taylor visiting the region last week and returning next week.

MRBTA joint chief executive Sharna Kearney said the “significant increase” in tourism WA’s marketing spend was welcome.

“The target markets for this spend are all in the top five markets to visit our region,” she said.

Premier Mark McGowan said the money would boost marketing efforts “in countries where we know it will have an immediate impact”.

“This additional funding has the potential to attract thousands of more overseas visitors to WA, bring millions of dollars into the State and create thousands of local jobs,” he said.

According to the MRBTA, international visitation to the region increased 7.7 per cent, from 122,800 to 132,000 during the year ending September, 2018.

But the year ending September, 2016 saw about 136,800 visitors to the South West region.

Shadow minister for tourism Libby Mettam said she welcomed the $9 million of new money.

“The funding follows calls from the Liberal Opposition in January to listen to the concerns of the tourism sector and start putting more effort into attracting more international tourists to WA,” Ms Mettam said. “It is vital the McGowan Government commit to continuing the additional funding beyond the 2019-2020 Budget.”

The Liberals also criticised cuts to Aboriginal tourism, which is a potential growth market for overseas visitors keen on authentic experiences.

The latest Tourism WA figures showed a one per cent increase in overseas visitors in the year to the end of September. In comparison, Tasmania saw a 15 per cent increase and NSW a 6 per cent rise.

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