The McGowan Government is encouraging working holiday makers from overseas and interstate to ‘stay and play’ in Western Australia with a series of promotional campaigns.
Tourism WA’s $850,000 initiative is supported by the State Government’s $195 million Reconnect WA package and is promoting WA as the ideal location to live, work and travel, with the aim of boosting the seasonal workforce at key tourism destinations and regional locations.
Promotional campaigns in the United Kingdom and Europe, Japan and South Korea will feature flight offers, incentives and working holiday maker packages, while the national ‘Paid Escape’ campaign encourages working holiday makers who are interstate to visit WA for a unique west coast experience.
Eligible working holiday makers could also make an extra $2,100 to work and travel in select regional locations through the WA Government’s Regional Agriculture, Tourism and Hospitality Workers Travel and Accommodation Support Scheme.
This includes an accommodation allowance of $40 per night up to a maximum of six weeks for international Working Holiday Makers or 12 weeks for Australians, along with a one-off allowance up to a maximum of $500 to assist with travel costs.
The Paid Escape website advertises jobs across WA in a wide range of regional areas including Albany, Bunbury and the South-West, Broome, Esperance, Exmouth, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie, Karratha, Kununurra, Mandurah and Peel, Margaret River, Merredin, Northam and Port Hedland.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, backpackers and working holiday makers made up a significant portion of the workforce within the seasonal hospitality, tourism and primary industries sectors.
The series of initiatives comes as Qantas’ non-stop flight between London and Perth returns three weeks early, and ahead of the launch of Qantas’ direct Perth to Rome service next month.
In 2019, WA welcomed 51,000 working holiday makers who stayed for a total of 4.48 million nights and spent $234 million in the State – equivalent to 9 per cent of international visitor spend in the State.
Also in 2019, 11,000 working holiday makers from the UK stayed for a total of 674,000 nights and spent $33 million – equivalent to 13 per cent of UK visitor spend in the State.
The UK was WA’s top visitor market in 2019, with 141,600 people travelling to WA and spending $249 million.
The McGowan Government, through Tourism WA, is also targeting UK visitors through partnerships with two of the UK’s biggest tourism operators to Australia, Trailfinders and dnata.
The marketing promotions will showcase Perth as the ideal destination for an adventurous Aussie holiday and to encourage travellers to head out on a road trip to discover WA’s unique regions.
As stated by Tourism Minister Roger Cook:
“As we welcome back the non-stop Perth to London flight today, this suite of campaigns aimed at international and interstate travellers will promote the many benefits of working, living and exploring WA at the same time.
“Working holiday makers are a hugely important part of the seasonal hospitality and tourism workforce, which has been experiencing significant shortages since the pandemic hit.
“The full reopening of the WA border in early March has helped resolve some of these short-term labour shortages in the hospitality and tourism sectors, but we know there are still many businesses struggling to fill vacancies and we need to recruit further afield to restore a full workforce.
“Many tourism and hospitality businesses are already welcoming back international students and working holiday makers who play a critical role in the industry, particularly in regional areas where seasonal work is available.
“Seasonal employees play a vital role in delivering a high-quality hospitality and tourism experience for all visitors to the State, which leads to positive reviews and return visitation.”
As stated by Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
“The Regional Travel and Accommodation Support Scheme has played a valuable role in attracting thousands of extra workers to the regions over the past 12 months.
“We are welcoming backpackers back to regional WA – and the $2100 sweetener will help to get them out into the bush.”