The McGowan Labor Government has announced a $12.85 million package to support the local tourism industry and deliver cheaper regional airfares.
The package includes the $2.85 million recently announced to drive more interstate and intrastate travellers to holiday in Western Australia, in response to east coast bushfires and the novel coronavirus.
While the economic impacts resulting from this issue are still unknown, the decision to take swift action follows the Federal Government’s decision to expand travel advice and apply more prohibitions to Australian borders in recent weeks, due to the novel coronavirus.
A series of industry and peak body roundtable meetings were convened by the Premier and his Ministers, enabling the State Government to listen to all industries, review measures and feedback to the Commonwealth about what needed to be done at a national level.
Almost $5 million will now be spent immediately, to market and support initiatives that will drive more travellers to holiday in Western Australia and travel to the regions.
The big funding injection will enable additional marketing of road trip campaigns, bucket list natural experiences, and food and wine trails.
An $8 million fund will also be made available for the State Government to collaborate with airlines on initiatives that will support more affordable regional airfares on key routes for both residents and tourists.
Increased collaboration with airlines and regional communities in recent years has led to some initial success, with the average cost of regional airfares trending downwards and regional flight patronage rising.
The new package will build on the McGowan Government’s success in attracting more visitors through cheaper airfares to Exmouth, Monkey Mia, Carnarvon, Broome, Esperance and Albany, and the soon to be direct flight trial between Busselton and Melbourne and Kununurra and Melbourne.
Discussions will commence with airlines immediately on proposals and new initiatives, to boost more visitation to WA regional areas, and are expected to be rolled out from 2020-21.
This new investment complements the draft WA Aviation Strategy which is being released today for public comment.
The McGowan Government made an election commitment to address high regional airfares. The strategy is one of the key recommendations of the Government’s response to the parliamentary inquiry into regional airfares and outlines action areas.
Public comment on the draft WA Aviation Strategy 2020 can be made up until March 27, 2020 through https://www.mysaytransport.wa.gov.au/WAAviationStrategy
As stated by Premier Mark McGowan:
“This package will mean we can provide immediate support to the tourism and aviation sectors and further help our local tourism operators and regional areas.
“The challenges of the recent international and national events including the novel coronavirus and the east coast bushfires are undoubtedly having some impact on our State’s economy.
“Despite our outstanding results in the tourism space where we smashed records across the board in visitor numbers and spend, the tourism industry is now facing tougher times, beyond our control.
“We’re taking immediate action working with the local industry to listen and provide support.
“We’ve worked hard in Government to get our economy back on track and we’ve started to see the results, but we can’t take anything for granted.”
As stated by Transport Minister Rita Saffioti:
“The draft WA Aviation Strategy 2020 is a plan to advance aviation in WA and sets out a practical approach that reflects the current and future needs for the State.
“We are putting an initial $8 million on the table to attract airlines to come up with discount airfare options to regional areas.
“This funding will be delivered over two years, while additional tourism funding will help to promote these routes to tourists straight away.
“The overall aim of getting more people on regional flights – both tourists and residents – will help create further downward pressure on prices.
“There has been steady progress already. Innovation and collaboration among all stakeholders has led to lower fares for 15 regional towns, along with expansion of new air routes to international, regional WA and east coast destinations. We look forward to building on these efforts.”
As stated by Tourism Minister Paul Papalia:
“Perth is the gateway to our regions and this funding will make the regions more accessible to thousands of visitors.
“The McGowan Government is committed to work with airlines and other partners to introduce affordable fares where possible.
“The beauty of Western Australia’s regions and the range of activities on offer makes it the number one destination for locals, interstate and international tourists to visit.
“This injection of funding is on top of the recently committed $2.85 million announced to leverage off the domestic Holiday Here This Year campaign, which will ensure that regional tourism is well placed to welcome visitors from across Australia.
“It also complements our international marketing boost, which enabled Tourism WA to double its spend in our 10 key overseas markets, helping to draw more international visitors to Western Australia.”