The Tourism & Transport Forum Australia (TTF) has applauded Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett’s decision to assume responsibility for the Tourism portfolio as a significant repositioning of the visitor economy as a key driver of the state’s future economic growth.
“Premier Barnett’s decision to assume the Tourism portfolio sends a strong message that the visitor economy is key to the future growth of the State’s economy,” said Margy Osmond, TTF CEO.
“The experience, both domestic and internationally, is an increasing investment from Government into their visitor economies and a prioritising of the sector in their economic strategies. TTF is very pleased to see the Western Australian Government taking this path.
“TTF has been a vocal advocate of the growing importance of the visitor economy to the nation’s future economic success and we’ve been encouraging Federal and State Governments to nurture its continuing success by elevating its importance in decision making.
“The visitor economy can no longer be viewed as “flip-flops and bikinis”, it’s time for it to take its rightful place as an economic portfolio around the Cabinet table – right alongside the heavy hitters of Treasury, State and Regional Development, Education and Health.
“Western Australia is performing well in the domestic market – more than 8.467 million overnight trips (up 9 per cent), 41.6 million visitor nights (up 14 per cent) and $6.7 billion in expenditure (up 6 per cent) according to the latest figures.
“There is an opportunity to strengthen Western Australia’s international offering with the latest figures showing a decline in international visitor expenditure (down 4 per cent) even though the number of overseas visitors increased to 849,000 (up 3 per cent).
“TTF looks forward to the opportunity to work with the Premier to strengthen the Western Australian visitor economy and help the State transition from a resource-based economy to one which is diversified with a strong job-generating tourism sector.”