Western Australia must attract more international students and secure more blockbuster events to ensure continued visitor growth.
The latest results of the International Visitor Survey and National Visitor Survey for the 12 months to June 2019 show an increase in visitors, particularly holidaymakers, from all markets.
The number of international visitors to WA grew by 3.2%, which included a 12.8% increase in holidaymakers. However, international visitor expenditure declined by 0.2%, well behind the national average, and visitor nights fell by 10.9%. Interstate visitors to WA grew by 17.3% and their expenditure by 13.6%.
“It is great to see the State Government’s investment in international marketing pay off with a growth in international holidaymakers to WA,” Tourism Council WA CEO Evan Hall said.
“Investment in securing Stadium events such as State of Origin and the scheduling of AFL matches turned Perth into an events destination in 2018-19, attracting more visitors.”
While the leisure tourism increase was encouraging, Western Australia continued to lose market share of international students, who attract friends and relatives to visit them.
“Western Australia must become a more competitive State for international students to study, live and work,” Mr Hall said.
“Policy settings around student visas and migration should be overhauled to ensure WA can compete with other States in this market, or we will continue to lose market share.”
Mr Hall said major events needed to be secured years in advance, and additional funding was required to bring more blockbuster events to WA in the coming years.
“Western Australia needs a solid and reliable calendar of events, year-in, year-out, to continue to attract interstate visitors,” Mr Hall said.
“This takes investment and forward-planning to maintain Perth’s new status as an events destination.”