The extraordinary growth in visitor numbers to Rottnest Island is marching on, with a record number of visitors to Western Australia’s premier holiday island in 2018-19.
The number of visitors jumped to 785,002 – a 6.9 per cent increase on the 734,637 visitors in 2017-18.
The result represents a remarkable 21 per cent increase in visitor numbers over the past two years following the McGowan Government introducing a third ferry operator (there were 647,524 visitors in 2016-17).
The Rottnest Island Authority’s bicycle hire operation, Pedal & Flipper also recorded its best year in 2018-19.
With an increase in stock, Pedal & Flipper hired out 132,158 bicycles (including 6,678 electric bicycles), 9,441 snorkel sets and 20,500 accessories, with total revenue of $4.1 million – a growth of 13 per cent on the previous year.
Rottnest’s growing appeal has been underscored by the State Government’s commitment to additional activities for visitors, extra ferry services, successful marketing campaigns and influencers.
The local and international appeal of the ‘quokka selfie’ has seen the island’s Instagram account followers grow by 49.2 per cent in 2018-19 to about 91,000.
Celebrities including Chris Hemsworth posted quokka selfies and their Rottnest Island experience on their social media accounts, generating millions of viral views and raising worldwide awareness of Rottnest and Western Australia’s unique fauna.
Hemsworth’s Instagram video post attracted an extraordinary 11.7 million views, 2.9 million likes and 29,800 comments.
The latest report by Tourism Research Australia shows the number of visitors to WA and their total spend have reached an all-time high, with a substantial growth in visitors to all regions across the State.
As stated by Tourism Minister Paul Papalia:
“The success of the McGowan Government’s Two-Year Action Plan for tourism is now being experienced across our State, from the Kimberley, to Rottnest, and to our South-West region.
“With visitor numbers continuing to increase, Rottnest Island is on target to reach its 2034 target of 800,000 annual visitors – more than a decade ahead of time.
“Rottnest Island continues to experience huge visitation numbers, which is why our investment towards key infrastructure is vital in ensuring the island’s sustainability into the future.
“The island’s growing appeal in 2018-19 was underscored by the construction of 83 new eco-tents representing the first accommodation to be built on the island in about 40 years, a new beach club with a swimming pool and restaurant and eight new recreational businesses.
“Whether it is premium hotel rooms, a classic Rottnest unit overlooking the bay or a glamping experience, we are definitely bringing more variety to the island and ensuring Rottnest’s appeal will continue into the future.
“The McGowan Government is committed to building on the island’s appeal and sustainment into the future, recently injecting $16.2 million into key infrastructure.
“The Rottnest Island Authority is currently enabling infrastructure works with designs for the Fuel Jetty underway and plans for the Thomson Bay South Development (construction of a barge landing at the former Army Jetty) and Main Jetty progressing.”