The latest International and National Visitor Survey results, released today, show visitors in WA spent a record $11 billion in 2019, an increase of 15 per cent on the previous year.
These are the most recent results available and precede the impact of bushfires and coronavirus on the tourism industry.
With the restrictions on gatherings and international, interstate and intrastate travel, WA’s $11 billion tourism industry, which employs 108,000 Western Australians, is now on hold.
The National Visitor Survey shows local daytrips and overnight regional travel by Western Australians are the most critical part of WA tourism, making up $6.7 billion of the $11 billion industry. Interstate visitors injected $1.9 billion and international visitors contributed $2.3 billion.
Tourism Council WA CEO Evan Hall said the earliest opportunity for WA tourism businesses to recover would likely be through the intrastate market.
“The key to a tourism economic recovery, particularly regionally, is when Western Australians can start travelling within the State once more,” Mr Hall said.
“The industry understands that public health is everyone’s priority and the restrictions are necessary to protect our communities.
“Ideally, we’d like to be back in business providing great experiences for Western Australians and creating local jobs before the JobKeeper subsidies run out.”
A recent industry survey revealed 57 per cent of businesses had ceased operations and gone into ‘hibernation’, with 42 per cent still trading but with drastically reduced operations.
Mr Hall said the tourism industry’s future economic contribution depended on tourism businesses being able to survive the current downturn.
“We need tourism businesses to survive so that they can start operations and create local jobs when it is once again safe for Western Australians to travel within the State,” he said.
“It is important that tourism businesses don’t fall through the cracks of government support, such as JobKeeper payments or immediate cash flow grants.”