The McGowan Government has unveiled a new $185 million Reconnect WA package to safely re-engage with the world once Western Australia transitions its border controls.
The comprehensive package complements WA’s Safe Transition Plan, and ensures businesses and industries have the competitive edge when WA welcomes back vaccinated travellers from overseas and jurisdictions with COVID-19.
As detailed in the Safe Transition Plan released last month, WA will further ease its border controls in line with reaching a 90 per cent double dose vaccination rate, expected in late January/early February.
A $65 million aviation fund is a key feature of the strategy, which will go towards re-establishing international and interstate flight routes that were disrupted by the pandemic, as well as targeting new routes including Germany, India, China and Vietnam.
The fund includes $25 million from the existing Aviation Recovery Fund and $10 million for intrastate aviation to ensure tourists travelling to WA can experience our incredible regions.
The State Government will partner with Perth Airport, who will also make a funding contribution to secure more flights.
The McGowan Government will also invest heavily in a new targeted $65 million marketing campaign to promote WA as safe and full of opportunity for tourists, skilled workers and international students.
WA will utilise its successful record in safely managing the pandemic and a globally high vaccination rate as a drawcard for attracting people safely to the State.
New campaigns will be tailored to specifically address the skills shortage by attracting workers, such as health staff and secondary teachers, skilled workers for key industries, and backpackers for hospitality and agriculture.
It comes on top of $80 million in existing destination marketing and destination activities already being delivered by Tourism WA in 2021-22 and 2022-23.
Incentives will also be offered to tourists, international students and workers in order to successfully compete with other global jurisdictions. This will include expanding the successful Stay and Play campaign, which offers discounts for those who stay in participating hotels, as well as vouchers for tours and experiences.
A student attraction scheme will be in place to help international students choose WA as their place to study, including up to $1,500 in accommodation support for the first 5,000 students.
This will be complemented by an immediate additional $9 million funding boost to attract blockbuster international events to Perth and WA. This extra funding is on top of the existing events budget of $77 million over 2021-22 and 2022-23 to attract and secure major events to our state, which has previously been successful in attracting European football giants Manchester United and Chelsea, and the UFC to WA.
The Reconnect WA package also includes $15 million to target the lucrative business events market to attract international conferences to Perth, an essential initiative to support CBD hotel occupancy as well as the hospitality industry.
Additional support will also be given to boost Western Australia’s overseas presence, through our overseas office network and the Invest and Trade WA investment attraction initiative.
As stated by Premier and Treasurer Mark McGowan:
“Western Australia is on track to implement our Safe Transition Plan.
“This is testament to the Western Australian community who have listened to the health advice and come together to protect each other, by getting vaccinated.
“Our management of the pandemic has been vindicated on health, social and economic grounds, and therefore the time has now come to look forward and plan for an exciting future.
“We will announce a date when our borders will transition very soon, which is why we are now delivering a comprehensive $185 million Reconnect WA package, to attract tourists, workers and students to what is one of the safest places in the world.
“The message to the world when we transition our borders is that Western Australia is one of the safest places in the world, and full of opportunity for everyone.
“Our Reconnect WA package aims to leverage what we have achieved in managing the pandemic by offering a safe and vibrant place to visit, work or invest in.”