Western Australians are being encouraged to book their next holiday in their own State to support tourism businesses and local communities facing challenges from the perception of bushfire devastation, coronavirus and unfair commissions from overseas booking platforms.
Tourism Council WA’s Holiday in WA campaign, featuring 14 real tourism operators from across the State, recommences on television and digital channels this weekend.
Tourism Council WA CEO Evan Hall said while WA tourism businesses were not at the epicentre of bushfire devastation or the coronavirus, widespread media coverage could significantly affect international interest in travelling to WA.
“A recent survey revealed 67 per cent of tourism businesses report an impact on their business as a result of the widespread media coverage of the bushfires, despite limited direct impact on WA businesses,” Mr Hall said.
“WA tourism businesses were already reporting cancellations arising from the Chinese government’s suspension of outbound group travel, as well as cancellations from independent Chinese travellers relating to coronavirus, prior to the Federal Government’s decision this weekend to halt entry to Australia by Chinese visitors.
“Western Australians can support the communities and jobs which depend on tourism by choosing to holiday within the State during Easter and the next school holidays. With the cost of overseas holidays growing eight per cent last year and the low Australian dollar, now is a perfect time to Holiday in WA.”
The campaign encourages people to book directly with local tourism businesses, rather than through booking platforms which are mostly owned by large, overseas-based corporations and charge up to 25% commission.
“Each year, Western Australians are paying $13 million in overseas commissions to book locally-based tourism product, costing WA tourism around 150 jobs,” Mr Hall said.
“The recent court ruling that Trivago misled consumers about hotel room rates shows consumers may not be getting the best deal from big multinational booking platforms.
“We’d like to ask people to consider making the conscious decision to book directly with tourism operators, ensuring their money stays in the local communities they are visiting.”
The campaign website, www.holidayinwa.com.au, is a non-profit, local website, showcasing high-quality and award-winning tourism businesses. On the website, Western Australians can find local accommodation, tours and experiences, compare travellers’ ratings and book direct with tourism businesses, avoiding overseas commissions.